Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Day-to-Day Activities

How about a break from grief? Here's what we've been up to.
Well, we stopped house-hunting, which bums me out (oops, grief) BUT it has freed up some of our time not going out with the realtor. Our friends James and Casey went to Portland for 5 days and we house-sat/babysat for them. They have a little boy who is just a few months older than Brendan and then a little girl who is a year older that Wyatt. They have another little girl (9 or 10 months) but they took her with them so we didn't have to watch her too. Anyway, I'm not going to lie, watching 4 kids ages 4, almost 4, almost 3 and almost 2 was tough and quite tiring, but mostly it was pretty fun. It was fun to stay at their house because it is totally set up for kids. They have an awesome play-room!! The kids spent a ton of time in there. They also have a huge pool which we swam in everyday (with 4 toddlers!!!!). It was fun having the pool right in the back yard. They also have a sweet car (thanks to Arbonne!) that has a 3rd row, so we could actually go in the car with all 4 kids which was nice to get all the kids contained for a while and get out of the house. One major bummer that happened, was I got the stomach flu the last night we were there and threw-up the whole night. That was NOT fun.
Aside from that, our kids had a blast over there and have already asked to go back this morning. They live close by (although they are off to Hawaii today for the week) so we get to see them pretty often and it's nice to have friends here.
Yesterday I went grocery shopping and cooked dinner. It was my first time cooking a full meal since I've been here. It was a little overwhelming but in a way therapeutic..and it was tasty.
We're all getting tan going to the pool everyday and as soon as I figure out how to get my pictures off my camera I'm going to post a picture of my kids' white little buns. It's pretty cute. :)The boys seem to have adjusted to the heat pretty long as we are in water we can be out there. Yesterday it was 100 and that was supposed to be our "cool" day!! Going up!
You'd think with all this sunshine you would never have to wash your car, but you should see my car. It is FILTHY! It's dirtier than being in Washington rain. There is a lot of dust here and a lot of bugs. I can barely see out my windshield through all the bugs and the dust, if there is any moisture near some automatic turns to mud right on your car. Crazy!
Today, we'll probably go swimming...that's about all we do. Tonight I'm going out with my 2 girlfriends from college that live here and I'm looking forward to that.
I know my last couple posts have been sad, but this is the day-to-day stuff that I'm doing in the midst of all that. It's weird how you can be doing all these "normal" things on the outside and have such craziness going on on the inside. More of all of that to come....

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Selfish Crying

I'm trying to find God. I really am. I pray more than ever. I call on him more than ever. I need him more than ever. But I can't find him anywhere. Despite what has happened I haven't turned my back on God. I'm mad at him, sure, but deep down I know he's good. I want to believe he has a plan. I want to believe he can see me at all times and that he is taking care of me. I want to believe he will make good out of the bad. I just don't feel him taking care of me or comforting me and I wish I could. I wish he would cut me a break. I wish he would make something easy.
The reason for this little rant is pure selfishness. One, I want my brother back. I'm pissed that from now on I'll only just miss him. I won't get to talk to him, I won't get to hug him. He won't get to teach my kids all those things he promised. He'll never whack me really hard on the rear when he's passing me in the kitchen. I'm so mad about that. I just want him back.
Two, I want to go home. I want to be by my sisters and see them whenever I want. I want to live down the road from a couple of my very best friends and live in my little neighborhood where I know everyone and I love them. I want to stop at the funeral home to visit my dad and my aunt and my sister and Ron and Curt. I want to spend the summer at the lake.
But I can't. OK. I'm in Arizona now. Fine.
And this brings me to the third thing: I want to move out of Rand's dad's. (Mike, I really am grateful. I hope you understand.) I want my own place. I want to cook my own meals with my own pots and pans. I want to hang up all my pictures of everyone I love and look at them all day. I want to go "home". I want to rest and take a deep breath and feel a little slice of peace.
Why can't I have that??
Rand (and I) just decided that we really can't buy a house right now. I have been looking like a mad person because I am so desperate for it, but really it is not a wise thing to do. Our house in Shelton is still for sale. We would be buying here with the hope that our house there would sell in a couple months by the time we had to start paying our mortgage here. Plus, with no down-payment, that makes getting a house here a lot more expensive. But I haven't really cared because I feel so desperate. I know it's the right thing to do, but I don't care. I just want what I want and I feel like I need it and that I deserve it. Why can't I have it? With everything else, why can't this just happen for me? I can't look at the big picture and say, "God has a bigger plan. He has something better planned for me. He is saving me from more pain this way." I can't say that. I can't hear it. It makes no sense to me. I feel like I'm going to scream. This whole house thing has pushed me right over the edge. I just feel like dying. I don't want to feel like this anymore.
We have some friends here in Phoenix who are moving to the east coast to go to seminary. Their house sold in 6 days. They were telling Rand that they really feel like it was confirmation from God that this was what they were supposed to do. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN???? What does that mean for me? What am I supposed to do? What is God trying to say? What is he trying to do?
I wish God would swoop down from heaven and stand in front of me so that I could just see him. Maybe if I could look at him for a second, I could see in his eyes that he really does love me. That he is sorry about my brother and that soon he will bless me 7 times over. And if he can't give me the things I want on earth, then he would help me understand that heaven is just a snap in time away. Maybe his hand would just touch my shoulder and my pain would go away......

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tear Soup---

This is from a great book I discovered in my counseling program at Western about 4 years ago. The book is called Tear Soup by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen.

The book is a story about a woman who has suffered a major loss and how she makes her own batch of "tear soup" blending different ingredients into her own grief process. It's a great book that affirms the bereaved, educates the unbereaved and can be used as a building block for children. I like that the book doesn't tell you exactly what her loss was, so it can be applied to almost anyone suffering any kind of loss and going through any level of greif. I recommend it highly!
This is from the back of the book, and isn't a part of the story, but I like the "recipe".

Grandy's Recipe for Tear Soup
Helpful ingredients to consider...
  • a pot full of tears
  • one heart willing to be broken open
  • a dash of bitters
  • a bunch of good friends
  • many handfuls of comfort food
  • a lot of patience
  • buckets of water to replace the tears
  • plenty of exercise
  • a variety of helpful reading material
  • enough self care
  • season with memories
  • optional: one good therapist and/or support group

Choose the size pot that fits your loss. It's okay to increase pot size if you miscalculated. Combine ingredients. Set the temperature for a moderate heat. Cooking times will vary depending on the ingredients needed. Strong flavors will mellow over time. Stir often. Cook no longer than you need to.


  • be creative
  • trust your instincts
  • cry when you want to, laugh when you can
  • freeze some soup to use as a starter for next time
  • keep your own soup making journal so you won't forget

Serves one.

Today I'm feeling sadder than normal. I think because I talked to someone who didn't just talk, she asked good questions. I guess it's hard for me to just open up with people and call up a friend to "talk". I'd rather just keep it inside and go about my business like it's no big deal. But boy, you ask me the right questions and I can't even help myself...the tears just come out. I've noticed through this that I have a lot of friends and I really love all those people. But there are a few friends who I would die without (and a couple sisters) who want to talk about Willie, who want to talk about my pain. Sometimes I hate talking about it, but I am so grateful for those who take a second and recognize that even though I'm laughing and talking about my kids or my house-hunting or Phoenix weather..inside I'm crying and thinking about my brother and I'm missing my home and my good Shelton friends. Right now, I'm making tear soup. It's a hard job and most of the time I don't even know how I'm doing at it. I wish it wasn't going to take so long but I'm glad I have a few friends who will sit with me and help me "stir".

Monday, May 14, 2007

Uggh. The first one.

It's so hard to get started. How do I begin to write about where I have been and where I am today? My purpose for starting this blog was because I was moving, leaving and wanting to stay connected. That is still true, but everything has changed now.
I spent all day Friday, April 13th, packing up all of my things onto a Uhaul truck. It had been an emotional couple of weeks saying my good-byes and preparing for the adventure ahead. I thought of Will several times that day because I needed to call him. I had been with him 5 days earlier, but felt I hadn't really said good-bye. I even thought of badgering him to drive down from Seattle and see the boys one last time before we left. How I wish I would have done that....
We left around 7 pm and stayed in Wilsonville. It's so weird to think of that next day of driving, going about our business when our world had already been shattered and we just didn't know it yet.
We were in the middle of Grant's Pass, just north of Medford, when we got the phone call that started our nightmare. That part I won't re-hash now. It's too awful to write because writing takes too long and I don't want to think about it right now anyway.
Skip ahead.....Rand flew back to Phoenix on Thursday, April 26 and Brendan, Wyatt and I left in the motor home with my parents one week later.
The trip in the motor home was long and hard. We decided to not go down I-5 and instead went East first and into Idaho. We drove hard for 2 days and then took it easy for 2 days. We stayed in Salt Lake City 2 nights and got to visit with our good friends Traci and Brandon. Thank you to them for being open arms and open ears for me especially. I needed them and it was good timing, right in the middle of our trip. We arrived in the Phoenix area on Thursday, May 10. I said good-bye to my parents the next morning.
Overall the trip in the motor home was a nightmare. I don't know how else to describe it. At the time, I wouldn't have said that, but looking back, that's what it feels like. Not because my parents were so bad or the kids were so hard, but just the things going on inside of me. It tweaks my memory and my perspective on everything. I'm sure by Friday, I'll look back on this week and think, "last week was a nightmare." I wouldn't say this moment is a nightmare...I'm surviving, but looking back I feel so "off" that the time that has passed feels....well, like a nightmare. Moment to moment I survive. I'm busy with the kids and with house-hunting and trying to locate my things and just figuring out my new surroundings. Basically I'm doing normal things and talking to people in normal ways, and to a stranger it would look like I'm perfectly fine. But on the inside I can't figure it out. I can't make sense of my life. I can't find normal. All of the emotions are sitting in my throat at all times and when I am talking or going about my day the only thing I'm really thinking about is everything that has happened. I distract myself on a certain level, but the reality never really goes away. It's always there and it's scary how my tears are right at the surface and fall out easily without a lot of warning. I fight all day to keep them back because I have sooo much to do and it feels so awful. And I have to say, I'm pretty good at it, but that's probably bad. I'm just trying to survive.
Wow, I know that sounds so depressing, but it's my life right now.
Did I tell you all that my first day here it was 103! Supposedly it hadn't been that hot here until I got here. Funny, because our entire trip we were freezing cold and the day we get to Phoenix they have their hottest day....actually, their hottest week! The kids have heat rash! Either that or they reacting to all the sunscreen I put on them that they aren't used to.
I'm going to look at houses tomorrow and I'm really anxious to get my own place. Rand's dad is great and so flexible and such a trooper for inviting us in to stay for who knows how long. It's gotta be a shocker to go from living alone, to living with 2 other adults and their 2 toddlers! Thanks Grandpa Mike! But really, I can't wait for a place to hang my things and call home.
Rand's new job is going good. I'm waiting for him to start blogging about it and fill you in himself! :)
Well, I feel better now that I've gotten the first one out of the way. I want to keep you updated more so check back for some pictures of the kiddos in AZ!
Oh, and before I go, thank you a million times to everyone who has called me, sent flowers, sent cards and written emails. Your thoughts, prayers and encouraging words have touched my heart and mean so much.