Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kinda Wordless Wednesday - Old School Version :)

Full lap = utterly and completely full heart :)

Circa - November 29, 2008

I'm Thankful for... Day 30

November 30, 2011

Today I'm thankful for the same thing I was thankful for this time last year - the ability to come up with 30 days of thankfulness.  Granted, I'm VERY thankful for lots of things every single day, but having to really think about what I am thankful for and why is a challenge some days.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Tradition

This Christmas will be the 3rd without Erik.  So hard to believe.  Anyway, over the last 2 years, I've tried to come up with a way to remember and honor Erik during Christmas.  I bought special ornaments to put on our tree.  I still hang his stocking. We buy a Christmas flower for his grave.  All of these things still didn't seem like enough.

As I was browsing in Hobby Lobby a couple of weeks ago, I noticed some mini ornaments on an aisle near the normal Christmas stuff.  I first spotted some John Deere ornaments and that's when it hit me.  I wanted to get Erik a mini tree for our house.  I hand my hands full of John Deere stuff when I spotted the cowboy/country stuff.  I immediately put all the JD stuff back and got every cowboy themed ornament that Hobby Lobby had.  Those ornaments definitely screamed "Erik".  $70 later, I was ready to start a new tradition.

I'm not one who likes to rush Christmas, so we didn't get Erik's tree up and decorated until last night.  I probably would've waited a little longer, but Erik's VERY impatient sisters couldn't wait any longer.

Here are the pictures Kyle took last night as we were decorating....

I think his tree turned out perfect <3 ! 

I will be there....

While I was getting caught up on the blogs I follow, I came across this poem.  It touched me in ways that literally sent a chill up my spine.  I know a lot of Mama's who would probably get that same chill after reading it.  I've posted the poem below just for them.  <3

I Will Be There
By: Sharon J. Bryant

Mom, tomorrow I will be there
Though you may not see
I'll smile and remember
The last Christmas, with you and me

Don't be sad mom
I'm never far away
Your heart has hidden sight
My memory will always stay

I watched as you touched the ornaments
Sometimes a tear was shed as you did
I touched you gently on your shoulder
And on tiptoes I proudly stood

I'm only gone for a little while mom
I'm waiting for the day to be
When God calls out your name mom
We'll be together, just you wait and see

But until that time comes
Carry on as you did when I was there
I tell the angels how much I love you
There are angels here everywhere!

I stand behind you some days
When I know that you are sad
I want you to be happy mom
It would make my heart so glad

So on this Christmas Eve, Mom
Think of me as I will be thinking of you
And touch that special ornament
That I once made for you

I love you mom and dad, also
I know you know I do
And I'll be waiting here for you
When your earthly life is through

Your child in Heaven

I'm Thankful for... Day 29

November 29, 2011

Today, I'm thankful for my father.

Yep, just like yesterday, it took me 29 days to get to him.  And just like my relationship with my mother, the one I have with my father is even more non-existent.

From as long as I can remember, I've always been a daddy's girl.  I looked up to my father in every way possible.  I made decisions based on whether it would make him happy - not whether I would be happy.

My father, like my mother, raised me the best way he knew how.  We never went without and were basically spoiled rotten growing up.  I had a car when I turned 15 and he bought me several others as the years passed.  He provided us with a nice home to live in and often did without so that me, my brother and my sisters had whatever we wanted.

Growing up - I thought he was the best thing ever.  Then I became a parent.

The instant I laid my eyes on Erik, I knew what it was to really and truly love a child.  It was also in that instant that my relationship with my father started falling apart.

You see, my father has a drinking problem.  At first, he was able to control his addiction, but the more I was around him, the more I noticed his addiction spiraling out of control.  It finally came to a head in April of 2005.  Kyle and I had went out of town and left Erik to stay with my parents.  It was the first time leaving him overnight and I was a nervous wreck.  According to my parents, the weekend was wonderful.  It wasn't until I talked with my brother and SIL that I realized that weekend was anything but wonderful.  My father drank too much, so my mother hid his alcohol.  This threw him into a raging fit.  Furniture was thrown, bad language was used and my child - my 7 month old child witnessed it all. To say I was livid would be a major understatement.

The next weekend I sat my parents down and told them that I would no longer tolerate the drinking.  Erik was not allowed to be around my father and when another daycare opened up, I would be moving him from my mother's care to a complete strangers care because my parents couldn't be trusted.  My dad made the decision to spend his afternoons in bars getting drunk while my mother cared for Erik.

There are more times than I can count that I came to visit and my dad was so drunk he never knew we were there.  My father missed my child's first birthday because he refused to get the help that he so desperately needed.

Fast forward to 11.15.09 - Kyle and I are in a panic over what's going on with Erik.  My mother had stayed at home with my girls while we raced off to the hospital.  When we realized that it wasn't going to be good, we called my mother and let her know.  Because of the situation with my dad, I asked her not to call him because I knew what state he would be in.  She called him anyway and he showed up at the hospital the day my son died and acted like a complete idiot.

At the time of Erik's death, Kyle and I were separated.  Well, after saying our goodbyes to Erik, I knew that I wanted to be with Kyle during all of this - I didn't know if we'd be back together permanently, but I knew I needed him right then.  My father sat across from my husband and told him that if he came home with me, he'd kill him.  What kind of person says this to a man who just lost his only son?!?!  My pastor had to escort my father out and once he was outside, my brother punched him.  I'm not even sure my father would remember this if it were brought up to him today.

I don't really remember much of our relationship for the next several months, but I do know that he missed the girls' 2nd birthday and showed up uninvited to Erik's 6th birthday celebration at his grave site.

My father ended up having an episode that landed him in the hospital and because I didn't know how serious it was, I went to be at his side.  I basically laid the law out and told him that if he EVER picked up another drop of alcohol, then he could forget I existed.  He laid there on that hospital bed in the ER - just doors away from where I kissed my son goodbye - and promised me that he was done.

Needless to say, he started back drinking a couple of months later and is now in such bad health that I don't really know how much time he has left.  I haven't spoken to my father in a very long time and I see no need to now.  I've accepted that he'll never change and I go to bed every night knowing that I tried to have a relationship with him.  He made the wrong choices and caused us to be where we are at now.

So I guess you could say that I'm thankful for my dad teaching me what kind of parent that I didn't want to ever be.  I love my children wholeheartedly and completely and could NOT imagine doing to them what he has done to me and my brother.  No father (or mother) should treat their children the way my father has done the last 8 - 10 years.  It's completely unacceptable.

PS - this post is way too painful to go back and proofread, so please excuse the mistakes

Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm Thankful for... Day 28

November 28, 2011

Today, I am thankful for my mother.

You might be wondering why I waited until the 28th to be thankful for her.  Well, truth be told, she and I aren't on the best of terms right now.  And honestly, I don't know if we'll ever be where we were before November 15, 2009.

A lot of things have happened.  Things have been said.  Others things have went unsaid.  But at the end of the day, she's my mother.  She raised me the best she could and for that I'm thankful.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'm Thankful for... Day 27

November 27, 2011

Today I'm thankful for my brothers - in - law, Phil and Shanon.

I've known both of them nearly my entire life and I'm so grateful that they chose to be a part of my family - even though I know they wish they would've thought a little harder before saying "I do".  LOL

Phil and I can aggravate each other to no ends!! He swears he can beat me in anything and we all know it's not true!!  Funny story - when I was around 15 or 16, Jen and Phil invited me to go to the mtns. with them.  I was happy to tag along.  Phil challenged me to ice skating, luge racing, wrestling - you  name it, he thought he could beat me.  Anyway, he thought it'd be a good idea to attempt to put me in a figure four at our hotel room one night, well the people beside us obviously didn't enjoy our loudness and came knocking on our door.  The older gentleman said (and I quote) "youth is great, but we're trying to get some sleep over here"  Bahahahahahaha!!! We still joke about that one to this day.  Oh and in case you were wondering - he never did put me in that figure four!!

Shanon and I kid around too.  His nickname for me is "flick".  Don't ask why because I have no clue!!! I love to aggravate Shanon and will never forget a night I spent the night with him and Kelley when I was younger.  It was when Scream first came out.  I can remember Shanon sitting in his recliner holding one of those mini wooden bats from a Braves game.  He was terrified!!! I still kid him about that.

The real reason I am so thankful for these men is because they loved my boy with everything in them.  Both of them treated him like their own and would've done anything in the world for him (they'd do the same for my girls too).  Either one of them would be there for me in a heartbeat and it's not very often you have that.

Thank you Phil and Shanon for putting up with my sisters as long as you have!!!  Love y'all!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I'm Thankful for... Day 26

November 26, 2011

Today I am thankful for the people that I've met since beginning my grief journey - most of these people are walking this awful road with me and they know what I'm going through.

I actually met the first lady the day Erik started kindergarten.  She was the person who prompted me to go back to school and get my degree to teach (Erik dying changed all of that :()  Anyway, she is the sweetest, most kind person that I think I have ever met.  She is completely selfless and I won't even get started on how wonderful of a teacher that she is.  It wasn't until Erik died that I realized her purpose in my life had just quadrupled.  She went from being Erik's first real teacher to a person I share a lot of things with.  Her son passed away on November 23, 1997.  I had no idea until Erik died.  She was at the hospital when I walked into the family room after we said goodbye to Erik and she has been there for me throughout the last 2 years.  She has the kindergarten class make a poster for Erik and it still hangs in our house this day.  She picked a rose from Erik's spray off his casket and had it made into a keepsake that is displayed front and center in Erik's cabinet.  I love her more than she realizes and am so thankful that she was brought into my life and so grateful that she knew my little boy.

I am also thankful for Sharon Gordon.  Her son, Charlie, passed away on December 7.  He was just days shy of his 9th birthday.  Sharon and I don't talk that often, but she gets me and I get her.  She has been so helpful these last 2 years and I love her dearly.  I hate knowing that she's hurting just as bad as I am.

The other lady that I've come to love is Susan Kittles.  Her daughter, Lauren, passed away in August of 2010 from cancer.  I met Susan through Sharon and when we get the chance, we meet up and let it all out.  Whether it be tears, laughter, anger - whatever.

We may be in different stages of grief, but we're all grieving the loss of a child.

Thank you Donna, Sharon and Susan for all you do!

Friday, November 25, 2011

I'm Thankful for... Day 25

November 25, 2011

Today I'm thankful for the wonderful ladies that I work with -
Amber, Karen, Joy, Felicia & Gail (even though she's retired now)

Up until recently, I was pretty standoffish about my life - the deep stuff anyway.  I had rarely talked about Erik and didn't dare go there with other personal stuff.  But I've started opening up and it's nice to know that I can talk to them about stuff and even relate to them on the craziness going on in my life.

It's really nice knowing that they are more than just co-workers.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I'm Thankful for... Day 24

November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Today I'm thankful for my family.

We don't always agree or even get along, but they've been there for me and I love them.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I'm Thankful for... Day 23

November 23, 2011

Today I am thankful that I have finally realized that I can't walk this "grief" road alone.  I called my family doctor on Monday and got a referral to start seeing a psychiatrist.

Those that know me, know that this was a very hard decision for me, but I've done it and I know that I'll be a much better person because of it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Better late than never...

More halloween pictures.... Enjoy!!

Halloween, 2011 - notice anything missing?

Halloween, 2009 - heart.breaking

All the cousins - well, except one :(