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Showing posts from November, 2005

Things said that break my heart

But I have no friends at home to play with.

Mommy, why is there nobody sitting next to me?

Maybe we can take Baby Alex's Christmas tree to the cemetery after we take a nap.


Ain't this fun? *sigh*

Recalled

I just spent some time perusing recall.gov and am now terrified of...everything.

The most scary recalls (to me) involve food with "undeclared" ingredients in them...or the children's products that contain lead.

Sulfites seem to be the most prevalent oversight in food. With a couple undeclared cheeses and anchovies thrown in for good measure. And let's not talk about the possible botulism.

As for children's products, Stravina Operating Co. of Chatsworth, Calif. is recalling about 6 million children's necklaces and zipper pulls that pose a serious risk of lead poisoning. And there is a recall listed for a CRIB that poses a lead poisoning risk. Good grief people!

Seriously, I need to stick to my crochet websites so I don't scare myself silly.

Send some love

If you get a chance, drop by Michelle's place and give her some love. Thanks.

Wish me luck

I had a craving for chocolate chip cookies. But thanks to an earlier craving for chocolate, I only have a half a bag of chocolate chips (and a bag of holiday M&Ms...red & green). I also do not have any baking soda, only baking powder. Further, I am missing Vanilla extract and only have almond extract.

So...I improvised.

I hope they're good. It would be a shame to waste chocolate chips and/or M&Ms.

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Not bad. Quite cakey and a little almondy. But not bad.

I Hate This

If you missed David's play on the radio...or if you have people you think might benefit from hearing it...you can play it HERE in MP3 format.

Great job David! Steve and I really enjoyed it.

Back to normal

I'm back to normal! I have absolutely nothing interesting or exciting to say anymore. No deep though or insight. No plea for help or counsel. No desperate need to understand anything. No sobbing as I type the words on this blog. I actually pondered the question, "What do I say today?" And the answer didn't come! I didn't automatically think of some Alex-is-dead-related post I just needed to get out of my system. I was stumped. Stymied. At a loss for words.

Hallelujah! Some normalcy!

Dreams or nightmares?

I had a dream last night. I was pregnant and in labor, in a hospital bed, feeling my baby kick and roll inside of me. They told me I had lost my mucus plug and should start to feel serious contractions soon. Then the male nurse asked me if I would mind if my baby was used in some study after birth...Something about eyesight and playdough (can you tell what living nightmare I had at my house yesterday?). I told him I would have to think about it and he sent a bunch of people in to see me to "explain the necessity" to me.

While I was waiting, I walked to the bathroom and caught a glimpse of myself in a full-length mirror and saw I was wearing my sexy red nightgown. Hugely pregnant and wearing my red nightgown. Now, this isn't humanly possible, given the style of said nightgown and the enormity of my belly when pregnant. Stunned, I turned right around and went back to my room.

Then the people came in and I stood on my hospital bed throughout the meeting, rubbing my belly. W…

Five days off

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I just don't know if I can go back to work tomorrow. We had five days off together and it was wonderful. I feel relaxed and calm and snuggly in my sweats and tshirt. The Christmas tree is up, Sam and Alex's ornaments are on hangers above the television, the lights are on the porch outside, the wreath and stockings are up above the fireplace...that's about all the decorating we're doing for the holidays. It doesn't sound bad...unless you know me. Normally my house is a Christmas wonderland. But this year I just can't bring myself to bring out the Santa Clauses or the nativity figures.
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We went to my mom's art show last night at Pentagon Gallery (Cleveland Heights, I think). It was nice to see her glass pieces displayed as the art that they are. Poor mom said she felt like she was a fish out of water. But I think that's just because she doesn't have a pretentious bone i…

Bad luck inventory

Sitting in the back seat of the van with Sam.
Wearing the same brown pants...and the same earrings...and my winter coat.
Falling asleep and leaning my head on Sam's booster seat while Alex slowly died.
Some things are so much the same.
Some things are so much different.
Refusing to wear the gold ring again.
Selling the shirt I wore that day...the shirts I wore for several of those days.
Can you invite bad luck to visit?
Can you prevent it from returning by changing your clothes?
I wonder about the woman wearing my shirts.
What would happen if I wore that ring? Nothing.
Nothing happens now. Nothing good or bad. Just nothing.
But I like these pants.
I have trouble putting the earrings on, and am thinking of selling them.
Why?
I remember thinking how ridiculous I was then. I showered and got dressed and called work and said I was going to the doctor but would be in later, depending on what the doctor said. I put my jewelry on. How ridiculous. I took them off when I realized I wasn't leaving a…

The Polar Express

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We bought the DVD yesterday afternoon. As of this moment we are watching it for the third time. It's not the Wiggles Christmas video we had to suffer through a zillion times last year...so I guess that's good. But am I the only one that doesn't understand all of this movie? I feel like I need Cliff's Notes to understand it all...no matter how many times I watch it.

Another commercial - PAIL ribbon angels

The handmade stained glass Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness ribbon angels will cost $12. Email me in order to make a purchase.

A tale of two Walmarts...and how I've lost my mind

Yesterday morning I woke up and went shopping. Not the 4am adventure I had planned...I was too tired to wake up and too comfortable snuggled up under my blankets to get out of bed. I did make it to Walmart by about 8:30am, in my quest for the advertised Thomas the Tank Engine two-pack (two engines for the price of one). Upon entering the store, I quickly headed directly back to the toy section as though I had blinders on, not to be distracted by the pretty shiny baubles marketed to us adults allegedly with disposable income (do these people not know that I would rather buy a toy for my three-year-old than some fancy gift-wrapped eau de cologne?).

Arriving at my destination, I found no holy grail...no Thomas the Tank Engine two-packs. I thought perhaps I could simply buy two individually packaged engines at the special price, so I grabbed two and took them up to the register. At the self checkout, however, they both rang up individually and I knew I was sunk. I voided the transaction a…

Thanksgiving moments

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I only cried once. And I think I hid it pretty well. Shortly before the tears fell, I had yelled at Steve to keep his eyes on the very snowy and slippery road...so I don't think he even noticed. We were riding down the road to my parents' house in the snow and it was very quiet...too quiet. Suddenly, the feeling of that other life overwhelmed me. That life where we were riding to my parents' house in the minivan with Sam telling me all about what his baby brother was doing in the carseat next to him. I could hear the giggles and the laughter sure as if they were really happening. Maybe if I turned my head fast enough I could catch just a glimpse. I did get a glimpse of Sam...but he was all alone and there was no happy laughter. What would he have been wearing? How would I have kept him warm in this weather? We'll never know.

And so we arrived at my parents' house and my mother hugged me and waited for me to get my coat off before asking me how I was doing. When I sa…

Striking a balance

It's a balancing act of sorts. Missing our dead son, while still enjoying the son we have with us...mourning for what should have been, while being thankful for what is...crying at the odd moment when we're alone with our momentos, while smiling in the middle of the family gathering.

I read of women who would feel unfaithful to their lost child when they found happiness again. I didn't understand it at first. I think that is because I was so consumed with the sadness, the concept of happiness was a near impossibility. But now that there is some happiness...now that I've learned there IS an art to balancing it all...I can understand the feeling. If you let the scales tip even slightly in the favor of happiness there is this overwhelming worry that I am leaving Alex completely behind...that I will forget. It's insane, to tell you the truth. But there isn't much about this journey that hasn't been insane. So I just consider it par for the course.

On this Thanksg…

updates

This morning, while watching the many show tunes at the beginning of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, I updated my links list. I added more pages I read regularly. Now I feel a little less one-dimensional.

Pumpkin pie and landmines

I decided to go ahead and break from tradition and buy Thanksgiving dessert instead of make it this year. Problem was, my mother is diabetic and I couldn't find a suitable sugar free pumpkin pie as requested. So despite having bought the pecan pie and the chocolate divine cake for everyone else, I was still left to bake the sugar free pumpkin pie for my mom.

It was a welcome activity today, filling up some of the time I would have spent thinking about how I was missing Alex on this Wednesday before Thanksgiving. And pumpkin pie, it turns out, is a pretty easy thing to make (I'll let the taste reviews speak for themselves tomorrow).

So I was humming along in the kitchen, opening cans and spices and getting it all ready to mix up. I needed the electric hand mixer. I grabbed the mixing paddles and went in search of the mixer itself. Not in the first cupboard I looked in. I walked over to the cupboard built in above the ovens in the wall and opened the doors. The mixer was there, …

Something to be thankful for!

Gideon has arrived! Congratulations to Vixanne and Marc!

gah!

Men!

He said he'd bake the chocolate chip cookies. After last night's burnt ones, I asked him to be careful and not burn these.

I mean, how hard is it to put some frozen cookie dough lumps on a baking sheet and bake them properly?

Yeah, yeah, yeah...blow me off and ignore what I have to say.

Guess what?

Yep...burnt cookies AGAIN.

I'm going to bed...without cookies.

We don't cry anymore

We don't talk about Alex as though he were something special anymore. Now, don't get me wrong, we know he's special. But we talk about him now in the same way we talk about Sam...as our son...not as the defining experience of ourselves.

I remember when I was pregnant and everything about him was special. His kicks, his weight on my spleen, his impending arrival, his bedroom...it was all covered with a bright shiny newness that made us look around and smile. Life was ours to live and we knew exactly how it was going to be. We reveled in discussing the shiny happy possibilities.

When Alex died, we talked. We cried and we talked and we tried to understand one another. A sense of urgency to return to normal versus a sense of emptiness that prevented normal from ever happening again. Life suddenly became something to survive, and we had no idea where we were headed. For a while it seemed as though we were headed in different directions and I was more scared than I have ever been …

We now interrupt this program for...a commercial...

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I love my mom for so many reasons. This is one small reason why...

I saw a stained glass breast cancer awareness "ribbon angel" in some mail order catalog and asked her if she could create something similar for me, but using the pink and blue of the PAIL ribbon. She went above and beyond the call...

For someone who has lost a baby boy...


This one, in progress, is for someone who has lost a baby girl.


As you can see, each one is different...some might say they're one of a kind (like my mom). You'll be able to find them at Familiar Echoes very soon...just click on the link on my sidebar to get to the website. Over there------>

Thanks mom!

It's just not fair

Something else that is forever ruined by losing Alex. I can no longer play fun internet games like I used to.

Posted on the message board I used to call "home"...

Name 3 big changes that have occured in your life since you started posting here.

Even a stupid fun little game like that makes me sad and angry and jealous.

It's just not fair! I hate this! (insert mega temper tantrum here)

Holiday Bill of Rights for Grieving Parents

I have the right to go from estatic to tears in 30 seconds.

I have the right to be excited about going holiday shopping, only to get there & need to leave because of a panic attack.

I have the right to not be joyful every single moment or day of the holiday season.

I have the right to not send out Christmas cards, AGAIN.

I have the right to NOT listen to Christmas music when I can't bear it.

I have the right to be quiet, continue to grieve my child & be alone when I need to.

I have the right to choose not to participate in gift exchanges and holiday celebrations at my place of work, worship, or anywhere else.

I have the right to look for & feel joy & love in the holidays & my life, just please don't try & force it on me. I'll find it on my own.

I have the right to want to buy my child a Christmas present and take it to the cemetery.

I have the right to buy the present and decide that I can't bear to take it to the cemetery.

I have the right to get…

Forbes.com

An email experiment that could be fun.
Click here to see about building an email time capsule
What do you want to say to someone next year? in five years? in ten? twenty?
Or do you want to send yourself a letter?
Now I need to think of what I want to say...
(and remember to never change my email address)

Not funny

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Steve and I have a long-running "joke" of sorts. When we pull into the driveway, we spot our horses in the front pasture and one of us will say, a la Dr. Seuss, "One horse, two horse." It's...quaint.

Tonight, after being away from home all day, we pulled in the driveway and there was silence...we were both looking and anticipating which of us would be the first to say it. But we pulled in and drove slowly up...in silence. About halfway up the drive I said, rather panicked, "Steve...where are our horses?"

No horses.

My heart started racing as I scanned the darkness trying to find the familiar shapes of my beautiful girls. My mouth went dry and I couldn't breathe.

No horses.

Steve flew out of the van and into the pasture...walking the fence...looking for an opening or looking for a downed/sick horse. We've had broken fence before, but nothing that would allow a horse to get out, let alone two. And just last weekend we walked the fence and repaired …

Check out our new blog

Our new photo blog...Just click on Sam's name on the side over there----->

A note to my crafting for charity group...

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Off to Pine Ridge OST Healthy Start today...a box of baby blankets, quilts, afghans, and hats...8 lbs 8 ozs worth of stuff (had my husband cart the box in for me...lol). I hope the babies use them well to stay warm and cozy.

Off topic a bit...

I committed to sending the handmade crib quilt that my son would have used had he lived (he was stillborn in May at 35 weeks). I was ready to do it and I did it. But now that it's gone...I'm a bit teary-eyed. I hope some living baby is able to get some use out of it. I think I need to go crochet something to keep my mind busy.

Thank you again to everyone here for everything you do. You have no idea what it means to receive a simple gift of love (especially when you're living the worst moments of your life). We were given a hat and a blankie when we lost Alex...and I treasure them. It feels good to be able to give that love back to someone else who may need it.

Not trying...not preventing

I've turned the proverbial corner...and I feel good about it. The revelation...to be filed in the TMI file...

For the past few months, we have not been using any birth control. We were technically not trying to conceive at first...but we weren't preventing pregnancy either. Last month, we actively tried and it didn't work. I was so relieved. No, I was THRILLED I wasn't pregnant. I said to Steve, "That can't be a good sign, can it?" I mean, you're supposed to be disappointed when you don't manage to conceive. Not me...I was sighing a sigh of relief and doing a small dance of joy.

But then I let some stress go during the next few weeks (mostly work and holiday related), and Steve and I talked about it, and we decided to really try this month. Yesterday, I thought, "maybe." And I was genuinely excited about the prospect of being pregnant again. There was a small part of me that was sad and longing for Alex, but the bigger part of my psyche wa…

Let's clear something up

I'm not depressed or suicidal or even really really sad. Most of the time, I function pretty well. I laugh and smile and dream about good pizza and a cold beer (neither of which it looks like I'll get tonight unless you count Freschetta as good pizza...which I don't). I know my posts here are generally sad and depressing and just plain awful to read. I personally warn people off my blog because I know what it sounds like.

BUT...

I am, by no means, a sniveling mess who does nothing but sob and look sad and pathetic. Yes, I have my moments. And those moments generally come out here because this is my safe place to release some steam/pressure/craziness. I write here generally when things get to a point where they have overcome my thoughts and if I don't get them out somehow then I WILL be a mess.

I'm not the same person I was before Alex died. There is no doubt about that. I don't focus like I used to...I find it very difficult to concentrate. My temper is short and…

Pretty cool (to borrow an outdated phrase)

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Anybody who knows me knows I HATE email forwards. But the boss sent this one out and I thought it was pretty neat. I'm probably the last person on the internet to see this...but just in case I'm not...

This is sidewalk chalk art by Julian Beever, an artist who has displayed his works in the U.K., Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Germany, the USA and Australia.





A beautiful day

The sun was just coming up this morning as I showered, and the light reflected off the snow and in through my shower window. (Yes, we have a window in our shower...and I love it) I stood and watched the water sparkle through the sunlight as it showered down. Beautiful (though a bit cold due to our malfunctioning water heater).

I walked carefully down the drive, shuffling my feet so as not to slip and slide on the ice and fall. The snow on the back lawn was perfect. The top of it sparkled in the sunlight as the sun started to peek up through the branches of the trees in the back yard. Beautiful (though a bit cold...several inches of the white stuff).

Driving down the road, I was thinking about Sam playing in the snow last night (pictures will be posted later tonight). And I was thinking about spending the long Thanksgiving weekend with Steve. And I was thinking about an email my mom sent me that I hadn't yet responded to. And I was laughing at the comment my brother-in-law posted las…

A part time job

I got a part time job. I'm a mystery shopper. Now don't laugh. I'm going to get to mystery shop A&W restaurant this weekend. Rootbeer floats, chili cheese fries and corndog bites...all for taking a few pictures of the merchandising materials in and around the store. Now THIS is living!

When I worked in Cleveland, my manager and my coworkers and I would hit the A&W at the Galleria for lunch. We would sit on the orange stools at the big windows that overlook the river and giggle when the subway train would rumble underneath the building causing our stools to vibrate.

When I was a kid, I'd spend part of my summer vacation at my grandparents' house in Indiana. My grandpa and I would get up early in the morning and head into town to the post office. We would stop for lunch at the A&W drivethrough and chow down while we watched the waitresses roll around on rollerskates (except they're not called waitresses...I can't remember the word). It's true! …

Snow

So it took me 6 months 6 days to have a complete break with reality. I've been through the longest spring, summer, and autumn of my life. And I handled it. Then today, on the drive home, I started to cry as I thought about Alex under all the snow. "Cry" doesn't even really come close to describing it. It was more like hysterical sobbing of the sort I thought I left behind. I KNOW he's not there and not cold. But I literally couldn't breathe with the thought of him alone in the cold without someone to hold him close.

Steve and I commented once that it was always difficult to leave him behind. We left him behind at the hospital. Then again at the Funeral Home. We leave him at the cemetery time and time again. It seems we're always leaving him. But it wasn't until the snow fell today that it felt like it finally broke me.

The fact is, Alex left us...not the other way around. And it's all so final when there's snow sitting on top of his grave. I im…

Two years worth of work...and the damn delete key

So today I pulled a real smart move. I got the bright idea that I would reorganize my work on my office computer so as to be able to find things easier. Instead, I successfully deleted about half of my client folders. How, you ask? I'm an idiot and there was no, "are you sure?" box after I hit "delete." It should be a RULE that you get an, "are you sure?" box after you hit delete. In my case, I should get two or three inquiries as to whether I know what I'm doing.

So I called the IT guys and begged for their help. Thankfully, our system backs itself up on digital tape and I should have my directory back by Monday at the latest.

arrgh! I swear I never used to be this much of a space cadet. It's really starting to get to me.

Where you least expect it...

Men. I used to think they didn't understand women all that well. And I was certain they couldn't understand the grief of a mother who has lost a baby.

But in the last three days I've had two different encounters with men that make me think I may have been hasty in forming that conclusion.

Monday I had a pre-hearing conference with a Judge. As I entered his chambers, he looked me right in the eye and asked (without the sympathetic head tilt), "How are you?" Not, "How ya doin'?" that people throw out there by way of greeting without really expecting an honest answer. He didn't smile and he didn't look as though he pitied me. He looked as though he cared. So I didn't feel uncomfortable telling him, "I'm hanging in there," with the same direct look and delivery.

The thing is...he didn't offer any platitudes. He didn't try to make me feel better. He looked me in the eye and said, "Good." Then he looked down at th…
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The cost of mailing a letter will increase to 39 cents on Jan. 8. Even at its cheapest, a greeting card costs $0.50. I'm really going to have to like you to send you snail mail at these prices. I wasn't going to send Christmas cards this year...but maybe I will send them for one last year before I get priced out of the market.

Happiness in an egg cup

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I don't know anyone who collects egg cups (I've heard Martha Stewart has a thing for them)...but thought I would pass this along in case anyone out there does know someone who collects egg cups (current bid=$117.50). Personally, I think is particularly inappropriate that you can buy Happy in an egg-sized cup...a Happy cup should be bigger...maybe barrel sized.

***bid update 11/17/05 at 4:30pm - $207.50***

I feel old

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I remember when it was THE thing to get a real silver flute or piccolo. Then, in college, I was introduced to the joys of the wooden piccolo. I even stumbled across one a fellow cashier at Discount Drug Mart was trying to sell in the summer of my Junior year...and I convinced my parents to buy it for me at an unbelievable price (I still feel a bit guilty that the girl didn't know what she was selling).

It was such good fun. Cold Friday nights in the marching band. Drinking hot cocoa and dancing around like a crazy person in the stands with my friend Kerry. Flirting with the boys in the drum section. Cheering and chanting, "We've got spirit...how 'bout you?"

But today...today you can get a purple piccolo. That's right...any color of the rainbow is available for your musical use. Purple, pink, green, orange, blue...it's all the latest rage.

I wonder if they still do the same cheers? It would seem they would get passed down from generation to generation...l…

A comment on comments

Please don't apologize for commenting. That anyone takes the time to read my ramblings still amazes me. That anyone takes the time to actually comment is more helpful than you can ever know. It makes me feel less...alone. It gives me something by which to measure my insanity...just to see if I'm on track for a white jacket sooner or later than I anticipate.

As to the comments about God and his plan...

I suppose it's supposed to be some comfort that people believe Alex is in heaven or that his death has some meaning or purpose.

It's just not as comforting as you would think...when all I have of my baby is a cold headstone and a box of momentos.

Expectations and disappointments

I thought I would feel better by now. Maybe because so many other people expect me to feel better, or maybe just because I have unrealistically high expectations of myself. Maybe because I have no clue what I'm doing and I'm wandering around like a newly blind person left with nothing more than darkness, other senses that haven't yet learned to compensate, and a fading memory of the things I used to see (I've also apparently become used to using really bad metaphors and similes...ick).

The fact is that I'm not back to normal and I still haven't made any progress on figuring out what my new normal is. I have few moments where I'm not high-strung, nervous, or angry. Despite my best intentions I can't make it work...this new life of mine. It's not that I don't WANT to be happy. It's that there is nothing that really makes me feel happy. Everything pales in comparison to the happiness and the sadness I've felt this year. I guess that's m…

Six months...he's still gone...I'm still missing him...

I just don't have anything to say. It's been six months since my beautiful baby boy, Alex, died and was stillborn and I don't want this blog to turn into a diary of what time I woke up (10am) and what I ate for breakfast (chocolate chip pancakes, thank you very much). I feel like there should be something important to share...some thought I should want to record for all history. But there just isn't. I'm not raw and hurting. I'm not happy. I'm not really anything. Just numb...hollow...empty.

I had a moment today where I thought I saw Sam standing behind me. But then I realized Sam was in the living room watching television. He looked so much like Sam...

Random holiday thoughts

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Yep...this image pretty much sums up our experience watching Chicken Little today. I'm so glad we had movie passes and didn't waste money.

I am not a fuddy-duddy normally...but this movie is NOT appropriate for small children. Rated G...my ass. In the first sequence, Chicken Little is darn near killed several times. There is too much going on...scary stuff. We made it about forty minutes in before Sam decided he would rather "go home and play with trains." I couldn't argue with him. It was just awful. What happened to Disney?

And questions that remain from this viewing...Why do fish have to wear helmets?

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Standing in Lowe's holding a miniature spruce tree in my hand...

"I'm conducting a class on how to decorate those tomorrow, if you'd like to attend. You can put real lights or these little glass ornaments on them!"

"Thanks, but this is for the cemetery, I think we'll stick with bows."

"Oh, lot…

Emily Post

I have often joked that "Emily Post doesn't live here."

But recently, while reading The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, I was struck by the passage that described Joan's effort to figure out what she was supposed to "do" shortly after her husband died. Surely, she was supposed to be doing something. She consulted Emily Post on funerals.

I've never read Emily Post on funerals...weddings and babies, yes...funerals, no...never had a reason. But it stuck with me that Ms. Didion consulte Emily Post.

And then Rebecca's post about "The Rules" reminded me of that passage.

As it turns out, Emily Post was quite smart about this topic. While some of the information is clearly outdated, there are definitely some tips for those people who say they just don't know what to do when a loved one is grieving.

I have previously posted about how there should be a handbook for bereaved parents. And I've had people tell me that they need a hand…