Thursday, December 27, 2012

I'm 5 Today.....

This year has been filled with growth beyond anything I would have ever thought possible 4 years ago. This year has given me the chance to feel, to be loved unconditionally, to trust and to become. I am not the same person I was 4 years ago, I am not even the same person I was a year ago. Mckenna’s birthday has been rough this year, but I have allowed myself to feel it and sit with it, without it taking over my existence. A couple weeks ago for the first time I think ever since I started on this grief journey I stayed in bed and cried on and off all day long. If anyone really knows me, knows that me doing this is a rather HUGE deal. A year ago I would not have even consider letting the tears come in fear of what they would bring, pain, but I got through it and the tears did not kill me and the pain did not devour me. I allowed the tears and pain to come because I have the right to grieve. As I was laying there I realized I was wiping my tears away with my dead child’s pajamas that I sleep with. This is something a mother should not have to experience, and it hurts my heart that I am a mother of a dead child. A child who should be blowing out her candles, running around with her friends and family, opening her gifts, being a little girl excited to celebrate her birthday.

I have been trying to put to words how Mckenna’s 5th birthday has made me feel this year and there really are no words to try and express the pain. The pain in my chest, the ache in my stomach and the sadness I feel at just the thought of Mckenna turning 5 years old. How bitter sweet, more bitter than sweet, it was to buy gifts for another mother’s  5 year old little girl while mine is buried in the ground. How hard it has been to plan a party that Mckenna never got to have. The heartache of never knowing what she would look like, sound like, or be like is something a mother should never have to live with. It has been hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that Mckenna would be 5. How is that even possible?? How could she really be 5? I am sure parents of living children feel this way when their children turn 5. The difference is the parents of living children got to watch their child/children grow into that 5 year old. The parents of a child who has died only has their imagination to try and imagine what they think their 5 year old would be like, sound like, their likes, dislikes, all the things parents of living children get to experience.

This year I am going to be spending the day with one of my beautiful soul friends who loves me unconditionally and allows me to be whatever I am and does not judge. We will be doing RAOK, honoring and celebrating the day my beautiful daughter came into my life. Celebrating the day I heard her cry for the first time, held her in my arms, felt her skin on mine, held her hand, and kissed her lips. The day Mckenna brightened my world like I had never experienced before in my life. I am the person I am today because she chose me to be her mother. Yes this month has been rough, yes I have cried, yes I have been angry that she is dead, but I would not take back those moments with her to save my life. I would never take her back in order to save me from this pain, it is because I love her so very much, that I feel so very much pain.

Happy 5th  birthday my beautiful Mckenna Jodell. You still amaze me with the love you show, the people you bring into my life and the signs you send. I will never forget the day you came into my life. I will never forget the moment I saw you for the first time. I could not believe that you came from me and that you were mine. Oh how I wish you were here to celebrate your 5th birthday the way you deserve. I love you from the bottom of my soul and miss you just as much. You are loved, MISSed , and NEVER forgotten. Many will be remembering you today and always. HUGE hugs and LOTS of kisses XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A New Place, A New Adventure

Sometimes people come into your life and completely change how you see things and challenge you and all you are. This has happened to me yet again. Sometimes someone will present a question to me that will make me think. Those are what I call challenge questions. This new beautiful soul that has come into my life did just that. She saw something in me that I never told her and asked me a question that has once again brought on a new challenge. If you really know me you would know that, I like to put myself in situations that make me grow and become. Over the past year I have really gone over the top with challenges. Moving out on my own, working at PCH, doing my internship with crisis response, all of which have made me grow more than I ever thought possible.

 When I moved out on my own I was terrified. The empty and lonely really hit me hard and I found myself in such a dark place that brought me to my knees. Though without those experiences I wouldn’t have seen my abilities to overcome and move forward. In many ways I have grown living on my own, though it has caused me to isolate myself. I am alone more often than many know and this has actually caused me more anxiety, which grows more and more as time goes on. After my beautiful soul friend asked me this challenge question it sent me into challenge mode. She was right in more ways than one and it really made me think, so in which started my next challenge within myself to help me grow and become. She mentioned to me about a friend who needed a roommate. Something felt right about this to me and it became the center of my thoughts. I needed a positive change in my life, one that won’t cause me pain all the time (PCH has made me grow, but causes more pain than people know). I need to laugh more, socialize more, get out of my comfort zone, and this is what I will be doing. I will be moving next week and I have so many emotions running through me. I am nervous, scared, excited, worried, anxious, and curious to see how everything works out. I am the type to go with my feelings and gut and something feels so right about this move.  I will be meeting new people, living in a new city (which is like a foreign land to me) and finding the happiness and joy that I know I can have. I am working so very hard to find my way in this thing called life, without the one thing that brought me pure joy and happiness.
I am still very much amazed by the people that have come into my life and how much they have made an impact on me. I have been able to walk this journey of grief because of these beautiful souls. I have grown as a human being in more ways than one, and I owe it to a little girl who looks out for her mommy. I do believe she is the reason for these beautiful souls, the reason her mommy is still moving forward. I have wanted to give up many times, but when I feel that way another beautiful soul is guided into my path. I am listening to the whisper in my ear and I know things will work out the way they are meant to….. as long as I keep listening.

Here’s to a new adventure, here’s to growing and becoming…..Challenging myself is keeping me alive.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Life changing MISS Conference 2012

The MISS Foundation Conference has a way of re-charging your life. Some may think I am crazy for saying that for me going to a conference for parents whose children have died is some sort of a vacation. Not in the sense of relaxation (because believe me you are far from relaxed), but a sense of peace. Peace being surrounded by those who "get it", peace knowing you don't have to say a word and they "get it", and some might be surprised but being able to laugh. Learning about others beautiful children and be honored to know them  I was able to be Mckenna's mommy for 3 very long days, to talk about her and not feel judged. To have people come up to me and tell me that they remember Mckenna and tell their friends and family about the dangers of televisions, to know that Mckenna has touched so many lives is a bittersweet peaceful moment for me. So many children, so many lives lost, so many MISSed.

 This is my second conference and it was far different from my first. My first conference I knew very few people and went there alone. I was asked to speak on the parent panel. The parent panel is when parents get up in front of a room full of fellow bereaved, and professionals and tell their story, where they are now, and how The MISS Foundation has helped them. It was overwhelmingly scary, nerve-wracking and almost impossible. In that moment in time I was getting ready to tell hundreds of people my story and I felt very exposed. Naked in front of strangers. After the panel I was (to my surprise) hugged and thanked me for my bravery. I wanted to run away in that moment and allow myself to break down, but did not feel safe. The one person I felt safe with at that time was busy so I sat at a table alone and pushed down my tears and put on a faint smile. Many came up to me and said how sorry they were, or that they remember hearing about Mckenna in the news. I was touched by the kind words. I only remember bits and pieces of my first conference.

Then the second conference came around and I was excited to go and again be surrounded by those who "get it". I am in a different place than last conference, but it was much more exhausting this time around. I was able to be there as a support person for those newly bereaved, I was able to be present for those overwhelmed, I was able to hug those I only know from FB, or those I met last time. While at conference I put all my other worries aside to be able to just be Mckenna's mom. Not much had changed from the last time and not being able to cry in front of people, but that isn't anything new for me. Conference is an amazing experience and always teaches me so much about myself. It is validating where I am at, why I am doing what I am doing and gives me the confidence to move forward.

Being Mckenna's mommy is my greatest gift in life and I will continue to work towards finding that place in myself I am searching for.

Thank you my fellow MISSters for a beautiful time together. Loved hearing about your children. Love to you all and until we can all get together again. <3

Friday, September 28, 2012

There Are No Words.......

I am not sure I can even begin to explain what yesterday was like for me, but I am going to do my best....I did not sleep well the night before like I thought I would. The night before I told Mckenna's story to a beautiful soul friend and I felt like I could breathe again. There are times I feel the need to tell her story, to go to that place that is constantly replaying in my head. The swirling of memories, the images, words, the details I don't speak about very often. I woke up in a panic. I paced my apartment searching, wondering, lost, and breathing fast not knowing what to do. This pacing thing is kind of new for me. I have been told it is very primal and an instinctive reaction to the loss of a child. Pacing is all I could do because I was crawling out of my skin missing, longing, and yearning. I found it hard to breathe because each breath seemed to be taken from me. I kept repeating in my head, 4 years, how can it be 4 years? Where have the years gone? 4 years, I just can't accept that, how could it be? My phone was getting notification, after notification of pictures being posted, comments being made, and I could feel all the M-Bug love. So many taking the time to get dressed up and take a picture, so many honoring Mckenna, so many thinking of her, so many remembering her, so many who didn't even meet her. My classmates participating and giving me a beautiful ladybug gift, honoring Mckenna and showing me support. I am not sure what I was expecting yesterday to be, but I know I wasn't anticipating SOOOO much love and support.

Mckenna's life may have only been 9 short months, but she has impacted more people than I could have ever imagined. Thank you is not big enough to say to those who honored Mckenna, loved Mckenna, missed Mckenna WITH me. Thank you is not enough to say because for many months now I have felt as if I shouldn't share Mckenna and talk about her because of others reactions. That changed for me yesterday because it proved to me that Mckenna's beautiful life has not been forgotten, Mckenna's life is bigger and worth sharing. My beautiful soul friend told me that, mother's talk about their children. They talk about them, show pride in them, share their life with others, so you should talk about her because that is what a mother does.  Mckenna lives through me and through those around me. My baby girl is guiding me and shows me that she is still here, that she has not left my side.

So thank you is all I can say and just know that each and every one of you have touched my soul and gave me strength to look at yesterday as a bittersweet beautiful day full or love and support. And for that there are no words........

Thursday, September 27, 2012

1,460 Days is a Really Long Time

4 years, or 208 weeks, or  1,460 days I have been without my daughter. I am finding it hard to put to words how this makes me feel. Recently I started reading the journal I started after Mckenna’s death. This journal was given to me by a friend at Mckenna’s funeral, and I am so very thankful she did such a kind thing for me that day. As I started reading I felt as if I was reading someone else’s words, someone else’s tragic story. Each page filled with sorrow and pain that no mother should ever have to endure. I thought to myself, this poor mother, how has she survived this terrible, tragic death of her beautiful daughter? I didn’t recognize the women in those words. Oh but then again I do because that woman is me. The days when it hurt to breathe, hurt to wake up, hurt to think, hurt to laugh. The days when I wished to die, to never wake up. The days I couldn’t grieve and couldn’t feel. As each month passed it was like I was getting further and further away from the one thing in my life that brought me pure joy and happiness, and yet in a strange way get closer. The days when other people’s feelings and emotions mattered more than my broken heart, the days where I learned how to put on my “Ashley” face that I used to cover up my pain. Reading those words brought me back to those moments, those first couple months, those memories, feeling as if it happened yesterday. I recently heard a part of the story from a friend that I have heard before and it’s amazing how in that moment you can get the feelings from that moment in time almost 4 years later.

In these past 4 years I have grown as a human being, as a person and most importantly as a mother. In the beginning I learned from those around me that my pain was too much. I slowly started to tuck it away and did my best to put on that “Ashley” face that I had grown used to. It is a lonely, dark place to be in when those around you can’t handle your pain. In time I have found it harder to put on the “Ashley” face and to just show the face of me. I find it more exhausting to try and be someone I am not just to try and prove to those around me that I am “ok”, when the reality is that sometimes I am not ok. I wake up every day to silence, to empty, to lonely. I go to bed each night to silence, empty and lonely. Yes I have come so very far on my journey. I work, go to school, do an internship, but that doesn’t take away the yearning, and longing, the missing and the lonely days when I miss my daughter.
 I have had to learn to live again, because the day Mckenna died I died too. It is amazing how in just a split second all the things you thought you knew, what you believed in, who your true friends are, suddenly are lost. It’s like you are being re-born trying to learn to smile, laugh, eat, talk, walk, run, all over again. There is not a day that goes by that I am not affected by Mckenna’s death. She is never too far from my mind. I can’t go around life not living and not discover who I am meant to be, but I also can’t go around life as if I am not hurting for my daughter every day.

On this day 4 long/short years ago I held my daughter as her heart stopped beating, and the color drained from her face. The light of my life died at the age of 9 months old. I will NEVER forget that day, I will NEVER forget Mckenna and I will NEVER forget to honor her and be the mommy she deserves to have.

I LOVE you my sweet, beautiful, curious, happy baby girl. You are the reason I do what I do and I only hope that I make you proud to call me your mommy. Because it brings me such pride to call you my daughter and that you chose me as your mommy. You are the light of my life even in my darkest days. I hear you, I feel you and I MISS you with every inch of my body and soul. Until we see each other again keep giving me signs and whispering in my ear and I will listen. I love you pumpkin pie. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What's that I hear....SENIOR year!!!!

Two years ago I walked into an advisors office at ASU to talk about where to begin the process of getting into ASU's Social Work Program. What classes I needed, what to do to get in, the path of when I will be taking each class and what semester. I looked at that and saw the year I will be finished with my BSW and thought to myself, that's so far away. Well I am now starting my senior year and in 9 short months I will offically be a social worker. I can't not explain in words how incredibly excited (bittersweet) and proud I am. When I walk across that stage in May I am going to be filled with such emotion, because it's not just a degree for me, my internship is not just an internship, its so much bigger than that. The blood, sweat and TEARS I have been through to get to this place in my life is a BIG deal. It is an acomplishment that last year I never thought I would achieve. I am so blessed to have people in my life that saw in my eyes the pain I so desperatly tried to hide, the pain that almost took my life. Those people pulled me out of my dark hole and believed in me enough to encourage me, be proud of me and help me see in myself what they saw/see in me. I am walking with my head a little higher, a smile on my face and a support system by my side (2, 4, 6, 8..........) ;-) .

 I have my motivation tattooed on my back and she is giving me more and more signs to show me she is by my side. I have an amazing daughter and I am proud to be her mother. Senior year HERE I COME!!!!  ;-)

I've been told this recently (You know who you are) ;-) M-bug. k.s.j.y thank you all <3

Monday, July 30, 2012

Biggest Fear at PCH Became a Reality.....

courage - quiet courage

Last night I finally had to face what I have feared since starting at PCH.....a child with injuries due to a television falling on them.

 I was floated to a different floor. When looking at my assignment I noticed a lot of traumatic brain injuries listed (this happens to me a lot). This always breaks my heart and I am always curious of what happened to them. I went about my daily routine, I go and get report from the nurses. The last nurse I came to starts giving me report on one of the patients. As she is giving report I asked what happened to the child and she said, "a television fell on her head" I said, "say that again" because I wasn't quite sure I understood. At this point I am holding back the strong emotions, fighting the tears and wanted to run and never look back. I immeditatly go to the breakroom because I could feel the panic and tears building. I stand there for a moment trying to figure out what to do. My mind is racing a million miles an hour. Along with feeling this way, I work in a place where I don't have a support system, no one to turn to in moments like these. That too is a terrible feeling. I  try to stay focused and to breathe. The tears start to fall and I begin to breathe faster and faster. I kept thinking, "I can't do this, I can't face that room, I can't face her mother, a television, a fucking television fell on her, I hate TV's" I call a friend, no answer. I start to panic again, my mind racing on who I can call. I call another friend and she answered. I try to gather my thoughts to explain to her what I am feeling and how I am going to deal with this. The tears keep coming trying to wrap my brain around this information. I hang up with her and I try to go do my job, I can't focus, mind racing, heart pounding, tears at the surface. 

Am I being tested? Should I challenge myself like I always do when I am faced with situations like this? Can I really do this? I don't think I can do this. I call another friend, my safe person, just to hear her voice.I tell her, "just 2 days ago I get a tattoo of my dead child who died from a television falling on her, and here I am faced with a child who lived from a television falling on her." We get me to a place where I can try and do my job since I have 13 other patients to care for. I go back out and start my vitals (again). As I approach her room my heart is pounding and I feel the panic. I slowly go in, I see 2 nurses and the girls mother cleaning her up. I see this beautiful child lying there with the evidence of what that stupid TV did to her. I immediatly leave the room trying to figure out what to do. After seeing her I knew I couldn't take care of her. I went to the charge nurse and started to cry, I explained to her that I can't care for that patient and why I can't. I said "I am really sorry, I tried to get myself to a point of being able to care for her, but I just can't." She understood and the nurse was able to take her.

What a roller coaster of emotion to face. Took me hours to recover (still trying to recover). It is times like this that I find myself questioning my choice to work at PCH. Why I torture myself? What it is I am trying to prove working here? Am I really meant to be here? Did I fail? I often feel like a failure when I am unable to do certain things that I challenge myself with. I did not see this challenge coming tonight. I still feel like I have failed myself and that I have failed Mckenna. I often feel that since I put myself in this situation of constantly challenging myself, that I need to suck it up and just push through the pain. Though that is nearly impossible. I am at a place where I am trying to find that balance of allowing myself to feel all while being able to function at the same time. Normally I able to push through and put my "mask" on. Tonight I was unable to push through, I was unable to face this challenge head on, I was unable to be there for her and her family. I know I need to give myself permission to be ok with this because, I went as far as I could without pushing myself over the edge and, that is enough (as my safe person would say). Though saying it was enough, doesn't always make it feel like it was enough.........

"If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you"
~Fred Devito

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hard to Breathe

I have never loved someone the way that I love Mckenna. I have never MISSed someone the way I MISS Mckenna. I have never felt the pain I feel MISSing Mckenna. My soul has been scarred from the pain. There are no words to describe what this life feels like to live everyday without my one true love. How to navigate through all the emotions that you face. Living with the responsiblity, the blame, the memories. I have been on this journey for 3 years 6 months and 13 days and yes I have learned more in this time than I have in my 28 years on earth. Yes I have come so far in my grief from even just 6 months ago, but the MISSing is the same. The ache in my chest, the knot in my stomach, the shivers down my spine, are all still present. I am planning a birthday celebration for my dead child, those words should not come out of a mother's mouth. I should be tucking her in at night, watching her grow and learn, teaching her the alphabet, learning her letters. I should be a mom to her on earth. Instead I have to wonder what she would be like, what she would look like, sound like. I have to sit here and use my imagination of the little girl I will never get to see grow up. I have her things piled up in a storage closet on my balcony in which I can not get rid of, though can't look at. I still have no pictures up of her beautiful face because it's too painful to look into the face of the little girl I took from this earth. No one will ever understand or change how I feel. In many ways I feel I don't deserve the happiness that so many believe I am deserving of. I have always just half lived because fully living meant I have forgiven myself. This is not true. I can't not forvive myself for something that took my child's life. I can only relearn to live a new life the best way I can without her. Some days I have the heaviness in my heart, the tears just at the surface, the anxiety all over my body, yet no one knows. It has become a part of who I am, though it is a reminder of the loss. I wish I was a "normal" mother with the "normal" motherhood lives and worries. I MISS my daughter everyday and some days it is almost too much to bare. I wish I made a different decision that day, I wish I never would have moved that TV, I wish I would have been more present that day, I wish things were different, but they are not. I can not change what happened that day, I can only learn from it and that is all I seem to be doing. Learning to live with the mistake, learning to live without her, and learning to feel. Tonight I can only breathe in and breathe out because living without her is making it hard to breathe........

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Nothing Like Planning Your Dead Daughter's 5th Birthday Party to Take Your Breath Away....... :-/

In August of 2008 I started planning Mckenna's 1st birthday. I was making the guest list, picking a location, choosing the food and getting so excited to celebrate Mckenna's 1st birthday. That day never came and now she would be turning 5. How did that even happen? This has been hard for me to come to terms with. I am struggling to find a balance to all the emotions this birthday is bringing up. I am still 6 months away and my anxiety is threw the roof. All the details of the party have consumed my thoughts. The theme, who to invite, decorations, food, what to do, how to honor, yet celebrate her life. So many details to planning a party and it seems to be different when you are planning a party for a little girl who isn't physically here. I wanted to have a party for her this year because 5 is a big deal. It's the start of becoming a little girl, the start of school, the start of losing her teeth, learning to read and write. These are big mile stones that I will never have the pleasure of experiencing with her.I wanted this party because I never got to throw one for her. I want people to remember her and celebrate her life. Nine months is all we got with her, but in those nine months she touched many lives. In the 3 years and 9 months she has been gone, she has touched more lives than I ever thought possible. I don't want those 9 months she was here to be forgotten, because those 9 months are the most important months of my entire life, and they deserve to be celebrated......She deserves to be celebrated.

The biggest struggle is the theme, where do I even begin? What would Mckenna choose? This part kills me, because though as her mother I would like to think I would know, truth be told, I do not. I have been looking and looking at themes and not one stands out. Not one says "this is what Mckenna would choose." How am I to choose a theme for a little girl who is not here? Will it just come to me? Will I see one and say "yes! this is the one?" I hope it becomes clear in the next couple months, because it hurts my heart not having her here to pick out her own theme. I knew what Mckenna loved at 9 months old and that was books, Blue's Clues and Backyardigans. I would have to guess that would be very different as a 5 year old. I wish I knew the 4 1/2 year old, soon to be 5 year old Mckenna. The Mckenna I will never get to know, the little girl she would be, the laughter, the growth, the mommy I love you's, the learning to spell her name, watching her concentrate so hard to learn her letters, watching the joy in her face when learning something new, the frustration at learning to tie her shoes, and the list goes on and on. I will never get to know that Mckenna. As her mother I am hoping I will get a sign as to what theme she would choose. Patience is needed on my part in order to see the signs, though patience is a struggle. My heart dropped after seeing a picture from Billy's sons first birthday party. The party I never got to throw for Mckenna. I am now planning a party for my dead daughter's 5th birthday, and that sentence alone takes my breath away.

With the help from some special people in my life, it will be a wonderful celebration of the birth of a sweet, beautiful, wonderful baby girl named Mckenna Jodell Fox. My heart, my soul, my life............

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Why The MISS Foundation?? Because They Saved me......

I am sure there are people in my life that wonder why I "still" continue to be a part of The MISS Foundation. Why I would continue to "still" dedicate my time to them. Well let me explain why it is so very important to me. I started going to The MISS Foundation support group in March of 2010. I knew about MISS from the beginning but thought it was for different kinds of baby loss, so never got involved. I had some support in the beginning after losing Mckenna, but not many that I felt truly safe with. My life had fallen apart and there was one person that I could trust to see me cry, express my thoughts and hold me while I sobbed on the floor. My support kind of dwindled in time and because of circumstances my safe person could no longer provide me with support, so in many ways I was trying to "deal" with it on my own. After some time of doing this I was in a very, very dark place. Having flashbacks, panic attacks, dark thoughts, horrible visions, which I now know was PTSD. I was not in a good place and wanted to die. I noticed I was really not in a good place and decided it was time to reach out. I went to my first MISS support group meeting and I was terrifed. I went alone and wanted to run away, I was jumping out of my skin with fear. It was finally my turn to tell my story. I was shaking and tears were at the surface as I started to speak. I tried to put on a front that I really didn't need to be there and that I was fine, when I was far from fine. I was staring at the feet of the facilitator seeing everything right in front of me as I spoke. I had tears slowly falling down my face as I told them a little part of my story. Told them about my beautiful baby girl. I couldn't fogive myself for what happened (if I am being honest never really have). I was welcomed and they all hugged me thanking me for coming, though they wished I didn't need them. They were right, I needed them in a serious way though I wish I didn't need them too. I continued to go to group month after month. In time started to make dessert, which started to be called Ashley dessert and was expected :-). I started to make Kenna Cards for the couselors to give to parents. The MISS Foundation  saved my life and I would not know what I would do without them.

I have met some of the most beautiful, amazing, generous, loving, caring people I have ever met in my entire life. I am so connected to so many of the MISS parents and families that they aren't just friends, they are my MISS family. The MISS Foundation provides me with a place I can go to honor Mckenna, be a mom, laugh, cry, help others, a safe place to go. Many might not understand, but that's ok becuase I don't want anyone to understand. I don't want anyone to have to find a safe place to honor their dead child/children. Have you ever sat with a broken hearted mother or father, listening to their story? I have and I have to say they are some of the most courageous people I know. The MISS Foundation is like no other organization I know. They introduce you to positive ways to heal, to love and honor your child. Doing Random Acts of Kindness (RAOK), walks, MISS events. All so support groups can be held each and every week, so free services can be offered, so they don't have to walk alone on this journey. It can not be done with out support from family and friends and most importantly MISS family. I am not sure if I would be here today if not for The MISS Foundation and all they provided me.

Thank you everyone at MISS who has walked with me down this intense, overwhelming, crazy, scary, journey. Thank you for allowing me share my daughter and for you to grow to love her  and think of her with every ladybug you see. You are stuck with me for many years to come. Love you all.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lonliness, Becoming and Grief

Lonliness can be a powerful emotion. There are days that I am ok being alone, being by myself, able to sit with myself in my empty apt. Other days I struggle to make sense of how I got to this place of lonliness. There are two types of lonliness I am facing. There are days I am working and all I hear are other employees talk about their kids. My kid did this, my kid did that, their pregnancies, their life with their children. I am no different than them because I too have stories, and memories but the difference between them and me is that they get to go home to their children. I come home to an empty apt. The empty apt that should be filled with Mckenna's presence, her voice, her arms around me, her hello mommy, her kisses, her smell. This feeling is almost unbearable sometimes. The pit in my stomach, the ache in my chest, the emptiness in my heart. There are days I wish so hard for her to be there when I get home, that I think sometimes it will come true. There are days I day dream of that moment and try to imagine and remember what it was like to come home to my beautiful baby girl. Then I am hit with the reality and at times it can take my breath away. It is a learning process that I wish I didn't have to learn, but since I do I am learning that it is ok for it to take my breath away. If it didn't something would be wrong with me.

Then there is the lonliness of not having a companion. It isn't as intense of a feeling but it does sting every now and then. It is not easy for me to put myself out there. This is something I am working on and trying to work through why it is. My ex husband is a huge part of this. My marriage had some great moments and wonderful times shared, but it also cause a lot of damage and pain. Looking back there are so many things that I would change, but since I can't I am working on never letting those mistakes happen again. Yes there are days it would be great to have someone to come home to, to go to dinner with, go to a movie, just hang out at home, laugh with, cry with, just be with. I have told myself I am ok if it never happens again, but I think that is my way of not allowing myself to get close to someone. It is all a process and one of these days I just might meet someone who will love me for ALL of me and want to know me inside and out. Until that day comes I am just going to continue to work on me and be a better person, just in case that person does come.

I have learned so much about myself in this past year of being alone, living on my own, supporting myself, going to school, and working through grief. Some people call me amazing. I am not comfortable calling myself amazing because I don't feel amazing. I am doing what I feel I need to do to BECOME the person I am meant to be. I want to feel that pure happiness deep in my soul, because I have felt the deepest pain in my soul. I want to laugh more, smile more and be that person someone would be proud to call their girlfriend or if it happens wife and just maybe Mom again. Lonliness is teaching me to be patient with myself. Someone I love very much has taught me that I am enough, what I get from friends/family is enough, and what I don't get is enough. I hear 2,4,6,8 from her and I am reminded that I am ok and everything will be ok. I won't be lonley forever because at one point I will feel that I am truly enough and that will be enough.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I am just..............ME

There are people that come into your life and they change you forever. They open their hearts and soul to you and are in your life at just the right moment. Sometimes those relationships are just that, in the right moment. I have some of the most amazing people in my life. The people who love me unconditionally and love me for ME, ALL of me. I don't come with terms and conditions. There are times in my life that I can't live the way others feel I SHOULD be living. I can only live for the life that I AM living. I wake up everyday to an empty apt, I go to work, I go to school, I "live" my life the best way I can. Even though it has been over 3 1/2 years since Mckenna, I STILL grieve for her. I am STILL consumed with her because she was my daughter, IS my daughter. Many can not imagine losing a child. Many can not imagine going through what I and what others are living everyday. Sometimes I can't believe I am living this life myself.

I am who I am and that is all I can be, just accept me for ALL of me.

 ALL of me includes Mckenna, ALL of me includes my sad days,

ALL of me includes my joyful days, ALL of me includes my crazy days.

I am who I am because of Mckenna,

I am who I am because of my struggles,

I am who I am because I have worked DAMN hard.

I am grateful for all the things in my life, my family and friends, my home, my car, the food in my fridge, my clothes, living in America. Though I lack the one thing I would give it all up for, MCKENNA. Day in and day out I MISS her. I would give every friend, relationship, circumstance up to have her in my arms again. But since this will not happen while I am still breathing, I cherish the people in my life that stick around through the ups and the downs, ESPECIALLY the downs. Many are not aware of how hard I am working to try and work through this crazy life of grief. It's not just grief, it's the grief of losing my daughter. I can no longer worry about what others think of my grief, because it is NOT their grief it's MINE. I still wake up everyday and do what I gotta do to "live" life and be who I am and always will be. I have come a long way, and to those who have stuck around I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And to those who have disappeared, well there are no words..........I am just ME and nothing else.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You Even Smiled Through Your Beautiful Tears....

What is it like to attend a memorial service for a patient?

What is it like to attend your very first memorial service since Mckenna’s death?

How do you look at a broken hearted momma in the eyes for the first time after caring for their daughter?

It isn’t easy going to a patient’s memorial, especially a young girl who died so young. It is especially difficult when it is your first service since the death of your own daughter. I chose to go to the service held at PCH since I could not attend the funeral because I needed to hug her mom. It was all I could think about since I heard the news of her daughters death. I saw her open the door and my heart dropped; there she was broken hearted, with such sad eyes. I sat there holding my breath trying to hold my tears as I watched her sob in the arms of people who loved her daughter and loved her. I finally gave her a hug and whispered in her ear, I know you are overwhelmed, just take it one min at a time sometimes one second when that is all you can do. I sat back down and just watched her dad’s tears flow down his face. I saw the picture collage made with pictures from birth to teen, it was almost too much to bear.

I could feel my heart begin to race, the tears sitting there waiting to flow, but needed to keep them inside. That is until the pastor began to speak. He started talking about losing someone you love and the grief, I begin to take deep breaths, the room begins to spin and that is my sign I need to run. I got up and left walking like I was on a serious mission, head down so people could not see my tears. Walking as fast as I could without running, I made it to my car mad at myself for not staying. Still fighting the tears so I could drive to my safe place. I need a hug, I need comfort from someone I trust, someone I am safe with, someone who knows me. I run up the stairs so relieved my safe person was there. I have a moment to sit and wait. My feet hurt from my shoes. The moment she hugs me I don’t let go, I begin to tell her what happened and we sit. I have an out of body experience where I can’t see her, hear her, hear myself. I know I am talking but the words are not heard, I feel like I am beginning to hyperventilate when I suddenly feel her hand grab mine, looks me in the eyes and says, it was enough, it was enough, over and over. I come back to reality with tears flowing down my face, my heart slows down and I can breathe again. I talk things through with tears flowing easily. I am told tears are a beautiful thing and I am allowing myself to feel and allow them to flow. She said you even smiled through your beautiful tears. I left there laughing and joking. The tears and the guilt didn’t take over my whole day. They came and went and I wasn’t left feeling sad and discouraged. It didn’t defeat me, I defeat it.

Those who know me, know this is a big deal. Allowing the tears to flow, not being hard on myself, and giving myself permission to leave when it’s too much, I am growing, learning and becoming. It was a lot of firsts kind of day. “It was enough to be there, doesn’t matter how long you sat in the chair, it was enough” words from a beautiful soul.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Your Imagination, My Reality

(At least trying)

How has my voice become so silenced?

When did I let fear of judgment take over?

Why did I allow what others think of me control my thoughts and actions?

My life has been a roller coaster ride for many years now, and I am not sure how I let others influence me so much. Almost 3 ½ years ago my life was forever changed. I never thought I would never survive the death of Mckenna. But here I am and doing the best I can. I live on my own, I own my own car, I work full time, and go to school full time. Yes I have rough days, yes I cry, yes I am sad, but is that really a bad thing? Is 3 ½ years too long to “still” have really rough days? I think the answer to that question is NO!!! Many people have told me they couldn’t imagine losing a child. They would just die if one of their children died. What do you think that tells someone who’s child has died?? I often wonder what they would REALLY do if one of their children died. How would they be if they were in my shoes? I meet parents all the time who have lost a child or children to death and we all find ways to survive.

Can you tell me if your child died you would go back to “normal”?

Many people don’t know what it’s like to go from a wife and mother to nothing in a matter of 3 months. Many don’t know what it’s like to try and find your way alone. Many don’t know what it’s like to drown in such guilt and shame that it almost kills you. Many don’t know what it’s like to be the reason your daughter took her last breath. No one knows what it’s like to hold their lifeless daughter in their arms, telling her to breath for mommy as two tears roll down their child’s face, many don’t know what it’s like to hold their child while the Dr looks you in the eyes and tells you her heart has stopped beating. Many don’t know what it’s like to hold their dead child singing and rocking her knowing it was the last time they would ever hold her again. Many could NEVER even begin to imagine doing any of those things and yet I have. No amount of time will ever take away the pain of Mckenna dying; no pill will “cure” me from the longing and yearning I feel every day. In a moment it takes my breath away.  I think, is this really real? Did she really die? This is really my life? Yes EVEN after 3 ½ years I think these thoughts. I sleep with her pajamas every night, I still don’t have her pictures up in my apt, I STILL miss her every day.

Wouldn’t you??

Before you judge a bereaved parent try and take a moment to step inside their shoes. Try and just imagine waking up tomorrow without your child, what does that look like for you? Try and just imagine living the rest of your life without EVER seeing, touching, holding, watch grow, take their first steps, say their first words, go to school, go to prom, get married, have children of their own, and all the things in between………

Can you even imagine it???

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

If You Really Knew Me

If you really knew me you would know that:

1. I MISS my daughter EVERYDAY!!!!
2. I can put on a smile though I am dying inside.
3. I am funny (sometimes)
4. I am sensitive to words.
5. I love deeply.
6. I am shy.
7. I can sit in silence for hours and not notice the quiet.
8. I don't cry very easily at sad, happy, bittersweet movies.
9. I am very independent.
10. I miss the old days.
11. I struggle with judgement.
12. I avoid painful memories.
13. I don't cry often.
14. I love romantice comedy movies.
15. I love Disney movies. (Belle is my favorite)
16. I don't like steak.
17. I don't like bacon.
18. I love to cook (but don't anymore).
19. I sleep with Mckenna's pajama's every night and don't travel anywhere without them in my carry-on.
20. I care too much
21. I worry about what other people think.
22. I struggle working at PCH more often than people know.
23. Sometimes I have anxiety when it rains
24. I forgive but NEVER forget
25. I am a deep thinker
26. I over analyze EVERYTHING
27. I love to take self pics with my friends
28. I do an airplane dance when I'm drunk
29. I like wine
30. I MISS my daughter EVERYDAY!!!!!!
31. I have 5 nephews and 2 nieces
32. I have a baby brother
33. My dad died the day before my 14th birthday
35. I only lost 2 baby teeth on my own
36. I get cold easily
37. I love to sit around a camp fire and talk about random things
38. I love to camp
39. I love the ocean
40. Scary movies don't scare me
41. I sleep walk almost every night
42. I MISS my daughter EVERYDAY!!!!!
43. Last year was a rough and scary year
44. I don't want a dog or cat or any kind of animal right now
45. I don't believe I will ever have more kids or get married and I am content with that
46. I love rollercoasters
47. I can get very emotional when I drink
48. I think people like me more when I'm drunk than when I am sober
49. I love cereal
50. I MISS my daughter EVERYDAY!!!!!
51. The majority of my friends are many years older than me
52. I get lonely sometimes
53. I have been skydiving
54. I used to live with my Nana
55. I lived in Colorado Springs
56. I wore braces for 5 years
57. I'm not afraid to die
58. I used to write 9-10 page letters to a friend in Tucson and saved them all
59. I left home when I was 17
60. I was married at 18
61. I MISS my daughter EVERYDAY!!!!
62. I've been to Australia
63. I can support myself
64. I work full time and go to school full time
65. I miss my Nana
66. I own my own car

The list could keep going and going. I have been wanting to make a list like this for a long time. One thing that stays the same is that I MISS my daughter EVERYDAY!! Another thing is that it is amazing writing all of this down and realizing just how much I have done in my life and how much of the list has made you who I am today. If you really knew me you would know that I am doing the best I can to live my life and discover who I am. It is not easy, so have patience with me and my growing process.