more time to catch up


One thing that absolutely sucks about losing someone close…aside from the fact that they are now gone from your life…is that life goes on. The kids still must go to school, to various activities and do homework. There are still doctor appointments to keep and committee meetings to attend. Work is still there. Our patients still require round the clock intensive care. There are still meals and housework and errands and on and on and on. These things don’t pause for our grief, for our tears and confusion and overwhelming, numbing shock and grief.

It just sucks, you know!

Then I am reminded that I just need to take a deep breath, put on my big girl panties and just do this.

JP used to tell me that…she used to tell everyone working with her in the NICU that. We all have heard her say that in our mind so much this past week. We all have reminded one another of her words the last few days. This evening is the memorial service for JP and Scott and, yeah, I can hear her saying that right about now. And so this morning, I did just that.

It still sucks!

No, one never does get over losing someone whom you care about just as I imagine we will never understand the senseless, soul-less violence that took away JP and Scott scarcely a week ago. Details of their murders are few, very few…not that knowing the why and how would take away the raw pain that we all feel.

It’s going to take time…a lot of time. Thank you for the grace of time, for the prayers and for the hugs.

looking through Oz colored glasses


Struggling…struggling much, much too hard here. Since receiving news Friday that will gravely affect our finances, our Big Top, our family, our ability to care for our family, I have become unbelievably overwhelmed…

and crying a lot…

and sleepless…

and literally shaky…

and not hungry…

and on and on.

I’m already barely hanging on with depression and anxiety that my former family doctor was certain I could fix with hypnosis. Hormone therapy and running (oh thank glob for running!) keeps me going as does my circus clowns but Friday I was knocked down…knocked down hard. Getting up earlier this week I was knocked down even harder trying to solve our problems because the care and feeding and housing of my family does not matter much at all when The Man demands that which you don’t have…right now! Miss Hardy of the IRS made that very clear to me. Prove your hardship. Prove that you must house and clothe and feed your circus act and then maybe we won’t take away all your money that you can barely live on paycheck to paycheck is what she told me. In the meantime, it belongs to The Man.

I felt as if I could not breathe. And then for almost an hour I went to a very, very dark place inside myself. It froze me. I felt as if I was encased in concrete or perhaps frozen in carbonite. Frozen in that dark place, I have never felt so hopeless, so demoralized, so unable to do anything…except that which my mind seemed to be telling me I must do. It was such a scary idea in my mind.

Yeah, I could very well be having a nervous breakdown. Aren’t you glad I am oversharing that?

Sorry. I just can’t help myself.

I need help.

Desperately so, I know…and no, Dr. Assdale, I don’t imagine that hypnosis is what I need.

But first I must fill out this damn 433F form, as well as 656 Form and then call back Miss Hardy and beg for a little grace…grace I certainly don’t deserve but dammit my family does!

I can’t wait to call her back because I know I can not emotionally and physically take verbal insults and abuse from her again.

But I have to. I must. I have no other choice.

But before I do, I took a break…a brief break, but a very much needed break and journeyed to Oz with Jodie.

Looking through these Oz colored glasses while enjoying a sneak preview of Oz, The Great and Powerful was a much needed balm. An oh-so, but desperately required respite before I completely fall apart and actually listen to that voice in that very dark place.

Don’t worry, I won’t listen to that voice, not ever. I guess that is one good thing Mommy Dearest taught me by doing…to herself…repeatedly…when I was just a child. Actually I credit my circus clowns who call me away, distract me, love me and hold on to me so tightly.

The movie? I enjoyed it. I’ll share a review later. But first I must finish filling out those forms and then prepare to call Miss Hardy back.

If you pray or think good thoughts or light candles or are into voodoo I need all of it desperately.

Thank you.

of mothers, wives, daughters and friends


A few weeks ago I blogged about trading places with a loved one as I headed off for my annual, routine mammogram because as important as it is, I just don’t find having body parts smashed between two metal plates all that fun. Still I make that appointment and I keep that appointment every year since I was 35 years old because it is that important. But then I don’t give it too much more thought until it is that time of year again. But this time there was some concern and the need to get a better look which meant more smashing then ultrasounds then some poking and prodding and examining. I tried not to think about it too much. I don’t have the time for this I told myself. I am the sole income under the Big Top. Still I kept the follow-up appointment and then made like Scarlett O’Hara as long as I could get away with. The good news, for me, is that there was good news earlier this week. With the all clear I heaved a big sigh of relief and began to focus on the usual juggling plus preparing to send the kids back to school and planning for a little fun “me” time next week because, frankly, I deserve it.

Sigh!

Then today I read this from the lovely Susan of Toddler Planet. I met her last year at BlogHer10 and all I can say is her presence in the room you are in is as bright as the stars she has studied over the years. There are no words I can offer except to agree cancer sucks. It really does.

I’m certainly counting my blessing but even more I am hoping and praying for even more for Susan…more grace, more time. I can’t imagine such a bright star ever going out.

the home children come from


Mother is the home we come from.
She is nature, soil, ocean.
- Erich Fromm, psychologist

Baby's First Carress - Mary Cassatt

I’m missing my Daniel this weekend. He is in good hands, the best while on a coastal adventure with his big sister Zoë and her boyfriend. I’m sure that he and Zoë are having so much fun still I miss his goodnight kiss and hug rituals, his morning cuddles and hugs, his laughter…him…as much as I miss Zoë and all that is her extraordinary self everyday now that she lives far from the Big Top. Our children crave our touch, our arms protectively surrounding them with our maternal love but it seems that we need that contact just as much as they do…perhaps even more than they do.

When Jodie and I were isolated in separate areas of a Bay Area hospital desperately ill with meningococcal meningitis I found that all I could think of was how desperately I wanted to see and hold my babies…all of them. Holly and Zoë were the only ones I was permitted contact with. Brief visits with them dressed up in gowns, gloves and special masks to protect them from the infection that nearly claimed their little sister and sidelined me. Weak and in pain all I wanted to do was be with my children and hold them…kiss away tears and fears…just breathe in their presence. The days I spent in the hospital alone in an isolation room I found myself crying less from any pain I was in but more out of the desperate, primal need to be with my children. When my doctor and Jodie’s doctor finally allowed me to visit Jodie I remember how my nurse tried to convince me to wait a little longer fearing that I was to weak to manage traveling from one end of Valley Medical Center to the other where the PICU was located. He couldn’t have possibly understood the strength of a mother…but then again I did collapse into bed and slept a solid nine hours after returning from my brief fifteen minute visit. Contact with three of my children was good medicine, the best medicine but it did not cover the pain and the ache I felt for Abby and Daniel back home in Manteca.

A friend, a talented co-worker, a mother of three gorgeous, young children, a beautiful woman I know is desperately ill. She has been hospitalized and critically ill since the beginning of this month. Those who know her have been filled with anxious worry for this beautiful young woman and her sweet family not knowing what else to do but offer many prayers, support and comfort to her and her family. She finally had the strength to post an update sharing how desperate she was just to hold her girls again. My face was wet with tears reading her update last night because I get it, I know too well that need.

Just as I received word that she was being transferred to higher level of care in a hospital in the Bay Area, I saw this picture on my Facebook news feed. One of her ICU nurses wheeled her out of the ICU so she could have that which her body and soul requires to be healed as much as intensive medical care, her beautiful children in her arms before she was transported to the Bay Area. While many tests, interventions, surgery and the unknown of what kind of recovery she might have continue to cloud the thoughts of those know this extraordinary woman, it is our hearts desire that she will be home again soon with her babies in her arms.

Praying for you Amy! Love you!

I say a little prayer for you


My dear bloggy, shredding friend, Liz, whom I have met up with and hugged on twice in the last year is right now, as I write this, sitting in an OR waiting room waiting for her beautiful baby girl’s surgery to be complete. Sweet baby Ellie was a full term baby who for some unknown reason has been unable to eat nor even keep her feedings down. Not unlike Daniel nine years ago, she has a mixed bag of symptoms but no diagnosis that explains why this beautiful baby can’t eat the way a baby should. So since the end of February, when she was born, Ellie has been subjected to every test under the sun and then some while her Mommy, Daddy, big brother and sister and the rest of the family waited anxiously for her to come home. Today’s surgery opens the door that Ellie will hopefully exit the hospital and come home finally for the first time.

I can imagine quite clearly what my friend Liz is going through right now and my heart aches for her. But at the same time I am hopeful. This is not the ideal way to feed a baby. This is not what was planned. But it does bring Ellie home where she shall be surrounded with unlimitless love. And it will begin her journey to eventually eating by mouth. Thank goodness she is blessed with such an awesome mommy to be with her through it all.

Say a little prayer right now for Ellie, Liz and family. After that, head over to Liz’s blog to give her some love and encouragement.