Not Enough

I am trying.

I am trying to work. I’m trying to take one thing at a time, and force myself to be proud of each little accomplishment. I’m trying to see each small step as progress and not be too hard on myself when that progress falls short of my expectations or hopes.

But it is not enough.

A little progress each day is not going to satisfy my clients. It’s not going to get them to stop emailing me, asking for a status update. It’s not enough to finish a project and get paid. It is just never enough.

I am trying to be social, and talk to my friends and family more. I’m trying to reach out for help when I need it, and I’m trying to figure out what the help is that I need. I’m trying to put aside all of my fears and doubts and anxiety so that I can be there for the people I care about for celebrations and support. I’m trying to be strong and put on a brave face.

But it is not enough.

I’m missing out on valuable time with my older relatives who may not be around much longer. I’m missing parties and get-togethers and celebrations for friends and I dearly love and who have always been there for me. I’m making people worry about me and send me messages telling me that it’s really ok for me to ask for help. I try to be proud of the little things I have been able to do, but it is not enough.

I’m trying to be there for my husband, who I have decided is an emotional sponge in the sense that if I am stressed or depressed or tired, he is going to feel the same way. I’m trying to be strong for him, and put on that happy face so he can be happy too. I’m trying to give him the affection he needs so he knows that I love him, even though I really don’t want to be around anyone most of the time.

But it is not enough either. He still seems sad, and down, and exhausted, and I don’t know how to help him. I don’t know how to make him better.

I’m trying to be there for my girls. I’m trying to be involved and engaged and make sure they know that it is not their fault that I am sad so much. I’m trying to make sure they know that I love them and I do want to hear about every microscopic detail of their day. I’m trying to make myself play every little bizarre pretend game they come up with, whether it’s “Mom, you’re the daycare worked and I’m the mom bring my little baby to daycare for the first time…but we’re on Mars and you’re a Martian” or “My sister and I are getting married, and yes I know that is illegal, but we’re just pretending and you’re invited to the wedding,” just so they know I want to have fun with them. I’m trying to comfort them when they get sad, and I’m trying to figure out how to best help them through their own grief. I try to tell myself that at least I’m getting up with them every morning and spending time with them and helping them get ready for school (even if I do go back to bed as soon as they leave) and I try to tell myself that I’m still spending quality time with them every day, even if it is less than any of us would really like.

But it is just…never…enough. They get upset because I’m “no fun” and their friends’ mothers take their kids to the park. Sadie especially immediately gets upset if she sees me crying, and then I have to figure out a way to get myself over it and help her at the same time.

Right now, I don’t feel like I’m ever enough for anything, or anyone. My best has fallen too short, and I just can’t wrap my mind around any possible way to get it back to where it is enough.

I’ve gotten out of almost every responsibility that I possibly can at this point. I’ve let things go that just couldn’t be maintained, and I’m still not enough. There’s nothing else to drop. And it feels like there’s nothing else in me to give.

I’m trying to tell myself that I will get better and I’ll figure out a way to be what I need to be to fix everything. I’m trying to tell myself that there is a solution, just out of my reach right now, that I will stumble upon any day now. I’m trying to reassure myself that it will come, and I just have to be patient and make it one day at a time until the answer is there, and then everything will be ok.

But it is not enough.

Pregnancy Number Three – 25 Weeks

I’ve mentioned before how I think this little girl was supposed to come to us at this particular time. So much of what I am able to do on a daily basis is because of her. Some days, I don’t feel like eating or taking care of myself at all, but I do it because I have to take care of her, and I want to take care of her. My girls keep me going every day, and this little one inside me is already such a big part of that. When she’s older and maybe reads some of this, I wonder how she’ll feel about the difference in the story of my pregnancy with her and those of her big sisters. Since the experience of this pregnancy is so different than my last two, it seems more fitting to address this little one directly sometimes rather than just writing about her. Consider this my first letter to our newest little baby girl.

Baby girl, I hate that so much of the story of my pregnancy with you is about my emotional pain. I wish I spent all of this time writing about you…how you’re growing inside me and what you’re doing, how I’m feeling about meeting you and how I’m preparing. I want to write about all of the things I wrote about when I was pregnant with your sisters. I haven’t been doing much of that, but I do plan to do it more as we get closer to finally meeting you. When you’re older, I hope you understand why so much of your story is tied to the loss of your Grandiddy.

You’re so funny already…you’ve got a pretty strict schedule you seem to follow every day. As soon as I wake up in the morning, you start wiggling, and you kick and stretch and move around for about an hour. I lay in bed with my hand resting on my belly, and I cherish those moments when it’s just me and you. After you’re born, I know I’ll have to share you with everyone else, but for now, those are our special moments, just the two of us. Sometimes Daddy is still in bed too, and I’ll try to get him to feel you kicking. You don’t like to perform though, so he’s only been able to feel you once or twice. The rest of the time, you stop kicking as soon as he touches my stomach, and I picture you laying real still, playing possum.

You always kick right after I eat. It doesn’t matter what I eat…could be fruit slices or pizza or anything, it always gets you going. You feel so low, and sometimes it feels like you’re trying to ballet-dance your way out through my butt. I don’t mind too much now, but when you get bigger, I can see this being a lot less fun. You usually like to be transverse, so I can feel you moving all the way across my belly. Sometimes it feels like you’re kicking the inside of my hip bone, which is a very peculiar feeling.

Just like I did when I was pregnant with your sister Ruby, I take a nice soaking bath just about every night. I lay there while the warm water from the faucet pounds against my toes and I watch as my belly shifts a little here and there with your movements. You seem to like rolling around while I’m in the bath, and I like to imagine that you’re having fun in there. I love those precious moments in the tub with you wiggling around, and it makes me understand what is so appealing about the idea of water birth.

I love you so much already, and even though my pregnancy with you as been difficult for me emotionally, I want you to always know that it was not your fault. In fact, you have been one of the biggest comforts in my life during this time, and I don’t know what I would have done without you. I can’t believe I’ve only got a few more months to have you all to myself. Time has flown by so fast. It seems like if I blink, you’ll be here. Such a huge part of me can’t wait until you’re here and I get to hold you in my arms, but I want you to take as much time in there as you need. Your Crazy Red-Headed Great Aunt is expecting some Grade A “chunk meat,” so we must try to deliver.

I love you baby girl.

Edited to note that I am actually 26 weeks pregnant today, not 25. Sorry, baby girl, Mama doesn’t seem to know how to count.

What Do You Do with the Placenta After a Home Birth?

Ok, my last post was kinda heavy. Sorry about that. I’m going to take a break from all of my feelings and write about something lighter…but possibly a bit gross. Be warned that this post may contain funny bits, but also possibly disgusting bits.

I can’t remember if I’ve written much about our plans for the birth of this baby. The gist of it is that we’re planning an unmedicated, midwife-assisted home birth, primarily because my last labor was completed without the assistance of any medical interventions or pain medication, and because it was very fast, to the point that my OB joked that we may have to find a drive-thru if we decided to have a third. If you’d like to read the story of Ruby’s birth, you may find it here.

So, Kyla and I have been seeing the midwife and doing our research. Now, I’ve looked a bit at pain management techniques and how to get mentally prepared for labor, but since this isn’t my first rodeo, I’ve really focused more on the logistics of a home birth.

For example, I decided pretty quickly that I did not want a birth tub. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bath, and the idea of giving birth in water seems alright, but it’s the logistics of the tub itself that made me nix the idea. I was wondering where you got the water for the tub, so I looked it up. It appears most people hook up a hose pipe (I’m assuming a brand new one and not just the hose you use for watering the bushes in the summer) to the washing machine supply. So that entails moving the washing machine out of the way, hooking up the hose, running it through the house to the tub, hoping there were no leaks in said hose, and waiting while the tub was filled high enough to get in. Also, knowing what I know about our water heater’s capacity (based on many previous attempts at a nice hot bath in the past that ended up being anything but satisfying), I have a feeling we’d get the tub filled to about six inches high, then have to wait for the water heater to heat more water, then start filling again, probably with the first batch of water already cooled. In that exact scenario, apparently, many people put stock pots of water on the stove, heat those, and pour them in the tub.

I’m sorry, but that sounds like a giant pain in the ass.

If I want to be in water, I’ll get in the tub I already have.

So, I’m looking into all kinda of logistics about home births, and Kyla and I are discussing getting a couple of cheap shower curtain liners to lay down on the floor in the living room so I don’t bleed/pee/poo/whatever on the living room rug. Then it hits me…what exactly are we going to do with whatever comes out of me during birth that isn’t baby?

Since both of my previous babies were born in the hospital, I never really saw much of what came out of me. When my water broke with Ruby and was slowly leaking out at home, I got a pad to catch that, and I just tossed those in the trash. Same with the pads I used for the oh-so-fun postpartum bleeding. But while I was in the hospital, I just sat there with my butt hanging off the end of the bed, pushed, and they handed me the baby when it was out. I remember seeing the placenta, but the baby had a bunch of goo all over it, so I was assuming there was more goo that just fell out onto the floor or something and the hospital folks cleaned it up while I was oohing and aahing over my little bundle of joy.

I think I was imagining a gallon or so of various bodily liquids/solids that would come out with the baby…you get the idea…just a really gross, chunky cocktail of whatever was in my uterus all those months that baby was growing. So I start wondering how we’re supposed to get rid of that stuff at home.

Do we just grab a kitchen trash bag, dump it all in and give it to the midwife? Does she have some kind of low-quantity biomedical waste disposal service she uses for this kind of thing? Or do we just put it in a bag and put it out in the Herbie Curbie on trash day? And is that even legal?

The more I think about it, the more worried I am about the situation. What if I give birth the day after our weekly trash day? What if we put it in the big green Herbie Curbie, and it sits out there in the May/June Southern heat for six days waiting on the next pickup? Ugh. What if it starts to smell?

What if some animal smells it and decids it would be a yummy treat, turns over the Herbie Curbie, spilling all of my afterbirth and whatnot all over the driveway? What if I come out the door with the girls to take them into the yard to play and I find a half-eaten, rotting, sun-baked placenta on my front porch?!

Laugh all you want, or think I’m insane, but my neighbor’s dog turned over their trash can one time to get to some meat they had thrown away after it got freezer burn and it had been in the can for a few days and thawed out and started smelling. It totally could happen. And it would be disgusting.

Now, I was convinced there was much more that would need to be disposed of besides the placenta, like blood and goo and such. As for the placenta itself, Kyla and I discussed the various things people do with the placenta after giving birth. I’ve heard of people consuming the placenta in a variety of ways, like sending it off to get it dehydrated, ground and encapsulated into pill form or cooking it up in some spaghetti sauce, and that’s all well and good. Supposedly it can help the mother with her lactation and assist her in not getting postpartum depression. If it helps, that’s awesome, and I completely support people doing that, but I myself really have no desire to consume anyone’s placenta, even one that came out of me.

I’ve also heard of people planting a tree and burying the placenta in with the planting. That sounds fine too. But again, I imagine you’d really need to dig down deep to make sure no animal came and dug it up, which would likely result in the animal leaving some amount of leftover placenta on your front porch because that’s what I’ve convinced myself that animals do. Also, I don’t want to get out there and dig a hole to bury the placenta, and if I’m not willing to do it myself, I’m not going to ask anyone else to do it.

So all of this consideration went into my decision to ask the midwife at my last appointment “So what exactly do we do with the stuff that comes out with the baby? Do you get rid of it or do we just put it out on trash day?”

She didn’t quite look aghast at the question, but she definitely seemed a little taken aback. She mentioned encapsulation of the placenta as an option, followed by a brief discussion on how amazing the placenta is, and how essential a job it has in the development of the baby. I said I wasn’t really interested in encapsulation, but that I had major respect for the placenta. I’d like to see it when it comes out, and maybe I could tell it “good job!” but after that, I didn’t really want to hold on to it. I mean, yeah, a placenta not doing what it’s supposed to can be really, really bad, so I’ll be extremely thankful if I get through this pregnancy and the placenta has rocked out the whole “giving my baby nutrition” mission, but once it’s job is done, I feel ok just letting it go.

I felt like she really wanted to make sure I had a healthy amount of respect for the placenta, almost like she had taken a little offense at the suggestion that it should just go into the trash. I say that with the utmost respect for my midwife and the placenta…I’m really not ragging on either or making fun. Placentas are awesome, and I am totally fine with anyone who wants to keep theirs. Fry it up, eat it raw, bury it in the yard, get it put into capsules…heck, dry it out with herbs and keep it in a shrine in the nursery. It’s a wonderful organ, and I have no problems with anything anyone wants to do with theirs.

I just don’t want mine.

So, the midwife said that it is not against DHEC regulations for us to just throw it away in the regular trash, and that there really won’t be much else coming out of me besides the placenta and some blood. It would probably be like throwing away some pads/tampons and meat leftovers. We would just need to bag it up real good, maybe double bag it, put it in the freezer until trash day then put it out in the bin.

I thought that sounded like a fine plan, and I was completely satisfied that I had my answer…but then once we got home from the appointment, I realized the midwife’s placenta respect had rubbed off on Kyla when he told me he had reconsidered, and he’d like to bury the placenta in the yard.

So, we’re planning to finally plant the rose bush my mom gave me several years ago (which has somehow survived even though it’s still living in a fairly small pot in the backyard), and Kyla will bury the placenta with the rose. He also agreed to humor me and bury the placenta very, very deep.

False Alarm

Apparently that burst of motivation the other day was not an indication that I was on the upswing. The past few days have been pretty rough, with small bouts of “yeah, I’m okay, I can totally do this” followed by massive breakdowns of being completely and totally overwhelmed with just about every little aspect of life.

I had an appointment with my midwife yesterday, which went really well and was actually really enjoyable. I left the appointment in a really good mood except for being extremely hungry. I hope to write more about that appointment soon, but after we got home, things kind of fell apart.

I was going to take a nap for a bit, and Kyla decided I looked so comfy that he would do the same. Well, he forgot to take his phone off silent from the appointment and ended up sleeping through going the alarm he set to pick up Sadie at school (Ruby had after-school dance class, so she didn’t need to be picked up for another hour). I woke up to a phone call from the school asking when we were coming to pick Sadie up. Waking up to a panic is one of the absolute worst things for me in normal times, and this sent me over the edge. I woke up Kyla and sent him to get Sadie, and laid in bed trying to calm down.

It didn’t work.

I checked my phone and saw 15 new emails and several texts. Many of the emails were from clients asking when I was going to send them the thing I was supposed to have already sent, so I got even more worked up. I was shaking. I felt so completely overwhelmed, and lost as to what I could possibly do to get back on track. I tried to think about doing one thing at a time, mentally going through the list of everything that I needed to do, prioritizing what was most important and most behind. But almost everything seemed most urgent. More panic. I tried to lay back, relax, and clear my mind, but the overdue bills crept in to my thoughts.

The worst part is that every time I sit down to work, especially on something creative, I feel like I’ve lost all focus. My mind wanders every few minutes, and I get sad, or overwhelmed, or scared, and I just can’t get anything completed. I sit there and try to just make myself do it…anything, even if it’s not to my normal standards. Then I send it off to the client, feeling at least a little better because it’s crossed off, and I get a response that it’s not as good as what they were expecting, and can I please revise it again?

I keep using the word overwhelmed, but I really can’t think of anything more accurate. I wake up in the morning and force myself to spend some time just enjoying this baby moving around in my belly, thinking about how great it will be to meet her, but after that, it usually just goes downhill. Once my girls get out of school, it gets better again, when I focus on spending time with them and pushing everything else out. Then as soon as they’re in bed, it comes back. I feel like I use every bit of my energy trying to focus on my kids, and there’s nothing left for anything else.

My “To Do ASAP” list is so long, and every day it gets longer and longer. It fills a whole page of my notepad now, and while I try to take care of at least a few smaller items every day, the list itself never seems to get smaller. I want to email everyone and say “I’m so sorry…I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I just can’t do it.” But cancelling projects means not getting paid, which means more overdue bills, which makes me panic all over again.

I know things will get better. I know I have to make myself get better. I know I have to find a solution.

I just don’t know how.

Get a Hold of Yourself

For the first time in ages, I woke up this morning with the motivation to do something. Honestly, it feels kind of weird, but still in a good way.

I’ve been really down on myself lately because I imagine what my dad would say to me if he saw me right now, struggling to get out of bed, and barely getting anything done during the day. I imagine him basically telling me to “just suck it up and get on with it.” I know if he were here, he would deliver his usual dose of tough love, but hurt inside that he couldn’t fix everything for me, then he’d call me several times over the course of a few days, and maybe send some emails, proposing possible solutions or sending links to research he’s done on particular problems I was having. He could never resist trying to solve a problem. It hurts so much to think about it…that if he was here, he would try so hard to help me fix it.

My Mama has been so amazing through all of this…even though she’s going through her own grief, she’s always there to be my sounding board, to let me vent, and to help me try to find a solution. Because of her help and what I know my dad would say if he were here, I made a promise to myself that I would work my butt of to try to get back to being a normal, functioning human being, even though all I really feel like doing most of the time is sleeping or crying or cuddling with my girls.

So, when I woke up this morning feeling motivated, I said a quiet “thank you” to both of them and got to work.

Granted, progress has been slow, and while I’d love to say I took down all of my Christmas trees and cleaned the whole house and completed my entire to-do list…that’s just not the case. I did get some things accomplished and I did work on a plan for addressing the other items in the near future, and those are little wins that make me proud. Some of the items I completed were even moderately interesting and possibly blog-worthy, so you may see some of those posted here in the coming days.

One of the items I completed was particularly satisfying. See, the weekend we got my dad’s diagnosis, I bought new shower curtain liners. They’ve been sitting around my house…first, still in their Target bag on the dining room table, then slowly migrating to the bathroom floor next to the sink, where they’ve been ever since. I finally, finally, today took down the old, mildew-y shower curtain liners and put up the new ones I bought back in November. Every time I took a shower I looked at the mildew on the bottoms of the liners and felt worse about myself, mentally calculating the amount of time that had passed since I bought the new liners, and it felt so good today to chunk the old ones in the trash. Don’t judge me…a little mildew never killed anyone.

I hope to cross off even more items from my list in the next couple of weeks. But for right now, I’m just going to bask in the feeling of not being completely useless, and maybe go sit in a quiet place so I can tell my dad all about it. I think he’d be proud, too.

Grieving for the Lost You

I’ve mentioned before how I subscribed to a daily grief support email after my dad died. Sometimes I skim over the emails without really reading them. This usually happens on days when I just feel too overwhelmed with missing him to think about how much I miss him. Yeah, I know that seems rather counterproductive, but that’s how it goes.

Other days, I actually do read the email, and sometimes I find things in there that resonate with me. Such a thing happened a couple of days ago.

The loss of a close family member creates extra depth and complexity to your grief. You shared a special connection with your loved one, and this relationship truly defined who you were. Losing this person has ripped you apart on the inside, leaving you rather unsure of your own identity.

What you are doing in the process of grieving for your lost family member is also grieving for the lost you. You are no longer the person you were, and what’s more, you never will be again.

It felt comforting to see my exact feelings described so accurately. I’ve tried to explain this feeling a few times, but I haven’t been able to express it so eloquently or precisely.

My dad’s influence is so strong in my life, and I know I’ll carry that influence with me as I do his memory…but it does feel so much like part of me is gone. I could try to go on here, attempting to expand on this quotation with my own thoughts, but every time I try, it gets more muddled. So I’ll just leave it at that.

DIY Super Hero Nursery Paintings

In spite of all of the pain and sadness in our lives after the loss of my dad and my grandparents, we’re so excited that not only are we adding to our own little family this year, but several of our friends are also expecting new additions. I haven’t spent much time with my pregnant friends recently because spending time with just about anyone feels overwhelming, so I was so glad I was able to be a part of The BFF’s baby shower a couple of weeks ago. She is expecting her first, a precious little boy, and even though we’re extremely strapped for funds these days, I wanted to do something special to let her know how much she means to me and how much we already love her little man.

Of course, I searched Pinterest first, and found a thousand things I’d love to buy for little guy. His daddy is a big fan of super heroes, so that’s where I began my search. Now, Ruby was sitting with me while I was looking at Pinterest, because that’s one of her new favorite things to do (more on that in a post some other time), and she insisted that she was uniquely qualified to pick out presents for the baby, citing her expertise in the realm of knowing “what babies like.” We searched through pages of images, taking turns “oohing and aahing” over this and that, with periodic exclamations from Ruby that certain things were “SO PRECIOUS!!!”

I thought about sewing a baby super hero costume, but that seemed pretty impractical for a baby…not to mention the potential dangers of a cape, a valuable lesson which Ruby learned from The Incredibles!


We turned our search to nursery decor, which proved to be almost overwhelming in its possibilities. The first thing that caught my eye was an adorable super hero cross stitch sampler:

I love to cross stitch, and I think I’m decent at it, but there was just SO much little detail here, and I wasn’t sure I could get it finished in time for the shower. Ruby also said that this idea was not “just right.”

Then we saw several variations of sets of small prints/paintings on canvas:

…some used cropped versions of the super hero logos…

…and some had a really cool vintage feel…

…but what really stood out were the oh-so-cute baby super hero prints.

At this point, Ruby emphatically declared that little man would “absolutely LOVE those paintings!” We called Sadie in for another opinion, and she agreed. The girls were so excited, and squealed for a while about how much the little baby was going to love his new paintings.

With that decided, I started trying to figure out how exactly we were going to do this. Most of the prints we found on Pinterest were from Etsy stores and no longer in stock, but the girls were convinced this is what the baby needed. I searched around for a bit and found a few current Etsy postings we could purchase, but didn’t see any sets available that included The BFF’s hubby’s favorites.

That’s when Ruby reminded me of two very important facts. “Mama, you went to art school and I’m a great artist…we can paint our own!”

So, we found a couple of prints on Pinterest to use as inspiration:

Now, I want to note that I always advocate for supporting small businesses and purchasing items on Etsy rather than copying. In this case, we couldn’t find exactly what we wanted, and I didn’t plan on selling the items, so I opted for creating my own. However, I made note of the wonderful artists who created the works we used as inspiration, and I hope to go back at some point and make purchases from their adorable shops.

After deciding on the general look I wanted, and making a list of The BFF’s hubby’s favorite super heroes (or what I assumed to be his favorites, judging by a few-months-old Facebook post) I created a mockup in Illustrator.


At this point, I could have just gone and gotten them printed somewhere, or used an online service to print them on canvas, but I was excited about making them by hand, and the girls were very excited to help. So we went out and bought the canvases and I printed a line drawing version of the Illustrator designs to use as a template.

We started with the big blocks of color, and over the course of a few days, added more and more detail. I have one in-progress shot, but it was so blurry that I didn’t think it would be very helpful. So, I’ll just list a few things I figured out during the process:

  • Regular craft paint worked really well for getting nice, smooth, solid blocks of color.
  • I ended up doing several layers of paint to get the colors so saturated…like five for The Hulk’s green.
  • I repainted the lines between blocks of color several times to try to get them fairly straight. I found using a wide brush did the best job for this.
  • All of my really small brushes have bitten the dust over time, and I really wish I had gone out and bought a new one…the details (like Wolverine’s belt) were a bit tough with such big brushes.

After it was all finished, I absolutely loved the result. The girls were so excited, and very proud that they helped make something special for the little man (although Mama did get kind of crazy with details at some point and took over completely…but they understood and didn’t hold it against me). We were pretty stoked about how they turned out, and I just had to share (even though I never got a really good photo of them finished).


We can’t wait to meet the little guy, and are so excited for The BFF and her little family!

Grieving Like the Joneses

Why is everyone else ok and I’m not?

I find I ask myself this question constantly. I’ve seen other people go through grief and loss. I’ve seen people lose their children, their parents, their siblings, their spouses…and I’ve seen several people go through these losses very recently.

And they all seem ok. They function, they go to work, they spend time with their kids, they volunteer to help with events…some of them even started non-profit foundations or organizations to spread awareness of the disease that took their loved one, or provide support to other who have gone through a similar loss. And even more personal, some of them have even reached out to me to offer me their support.

Why are they ok, and I’m not?

How are they able to get through a day–a busy day, even– and keep it so together? What is the secret they know that I don’t? Why can’t they tell me?

I see over and over again that “grief is different for everyone” and that I shouldn’t compare my grief to anyone else’s…but that’s pretty easy to say and not so easy to do.

Because really, I’m jealous of them. I want to be like they are. I want to get up early in the morning and be thankful for the blessings in my life and go do productive things and be social with other people and have fun. I really, really do. I want my grief to be like theirs.

Of course, I have no idea what they’re like at home when they’re alone, and I don’t know their whole situation. But I guarantee that what I see of their grief looks a whole lot better than what they might be seeing of mine, especially considering that a good day for me may not even involve getting dressed and leaving the house (more like just getting out of bed and staying out of bed until it’s night again).

I don’t have any answers, of course…if I did, I would have put them into play for me and I’d be better by now. I don’t know why I feel like everyone else is “better at grief” than I am. I suspect they’re not really better, and that it’s just my perception, but I’m not entirely convinced.

I want to see them as inspiration, and use their example to make myself better. But every time I’ve made up my mind to do just that, it ends up being much more difficult than I had anticipated. And I usually just go back to bed. And wonder, yet again, why everyone else seems to be so ok and I’m not.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

My Mama’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago. My birthday is today.

And this Sunday will be two months since my Diddy left us.

People talk about how hard grief is during the holidays, and the end of January/beginning of February is kind of a “holidays, round two” for me. At Christmas, our grief was still so fresh, and I realize now that it still hadn’t completely hit me. Mine and my Mama’s birthdays are much harder for me, because the true depth of our loss has really sunken in, and my dad’s absence is so much more real.

When I still lived with my parents, there was always a card waiting for me when I woke up on my birthday. Sometimes they’d come into my room singing, waking me up long before I actually wanted to be out of bed. When I got older and went to college, they’d call to sing Happy Birthday, but they (kindly) waited until later in the day.

Every year, no matter what, I always got birthday messages from both sets of grandparents and my parents, whether it was a phone call, and email, a message on Facebook or a card in the mail or on my nightstand. Sometimes, it was all of the above.

But this year, I won’t get a card from Mama Leen. I won’t get a message from Pepa. I won’t get a call from my dad, with him loudly singing Happy Birthday to me. I won’t get a message on Facebook from him, or an email with a picture of Eeyore wearing a party hat. I won’t get to hear him joking with me about how he was up all night, waiting for me to be born, while I was taking my time and the doctor was going to get breakfast. I won’t get to hear him tease me about how he should be keeping me up all night on my birthday eve if we really want to celebrate the right way.

I don’t want a cake for my birthday this year. I don’t want presents. I don’t want a party with balloons and streamers.

I want those calls, those messages, those long-running jokes…I want my Mama Leen, I want my Pepa, and most of all, I want my Diddy.

I don’t want anything else, for any birthday ever again, if I can just have my Diddy back.

I have wonderful friends and family…I have my Mama, I have my sweet husband and my precious girls. I’m looking forward to celebrating with them in small ways this year…especially my girls, who always know how to brighten Mommy’s day.

But while the girls are in school, and Kyla is at work, and my Mama is busy with her day, I know I’ll be sitting at the house alone with my ghosts. I’ll listen to the recorded voice mail birthday wishes, and read the emails, and look at photos. I’ll ache over the absence of three of my favorite people, and wonder how the hell I’ll get through the day without them.

I’ll cry and be pissed and angry and broken, because dammit, they’re supposed to be here!

I know I’ll be doing these things…because this is what I’ve been doing all week.

I look at the old messages from my dad, and I try to pretend that they’re new. I try to pretend I’ve just gotten them and that he is still here. Just for a minute–I know he’s gone, and I’m swear not crazy–I just want one sweet minute where he’s still alive and he’s not missing my birthday. Just a moment where the hurt is gone because it was all a big mistake and he’s really fine and never even got sick. But it never works. No matter how much I want to fool myself, it just won’t work. I keep trying anyway, because I just can’t think of anything else to do.

Last year on my birthday, I had no idea it would be my last with him. I didn’t know those were the last birthday messages I’d ever get. Now I treasure them, and I’ve read them all so many times I could almost recite them from memory (yes, even the weather forecast).



Good Morning P!

{Sadie & Ruby}!

Whoa! Hard to believe!

Has it been 13 years since I waited up all night for you to arrive?!!!!

Oh well….. it was worth every minute :)


LUV U !!!!!!!!




thaaaat’s right….. it was the bacon ;) vitamin puppy

t’days f’cast
Some light freezing rain this morning will transition to showers of rain and wet snow for the afternoon
Cold. High around 40 Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph
Chance of precip 50%
Cloudy & 32 with a wintry mix about
Feels like 27 with 92% humidity
Mostly cloudy skies this evening will become partly cloudy after midnight
Low 27 Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph


Happy “my birthday” Diddy. Thank you for waiting up all night 32 years ago. Thank you for the sweet messages last year and for driving through the snow and ice to see us and spend time with the girls. And thank you for all the wonderful birthdays in between.

I miss you. I love you.

Rainbows Above You

After my Diddy died, several of my friends really stepped up and were extremely supportive. One friend in particular was completely amazing–driving back and forth to my hometown to be there for me, coordinating a dinner brigade for our family once we got back home, and even setting up a way for people to make donations to help us out. I could never find words to express my gratitude to her, but one day I plan to try, and will likely post it here. But for now, I just needed to give some back story for what I really wanted to say.

So the donation thing she set up was a way people could donate money that would then be sent to us as a debit/gift card. I didn’t ask her about it for a few weeks after I got back home, but when I did, she said the service estimated 10-14 days before the card would be mailed to us. This was totally fine of course, and we were so glad to get it.

When it came in the mail, I had almost forgotten about it. I opened the envelope to find a printed greeting card with the gift card inside. Also inside the card were messages from the people who donated. Some included their names, and some donations were anonymous. The messages were all so sweet, and I was taken aback by how many people had donated and sent their love.

As I was reading the messages, one of the anonymous notes stopped me cold.

It simply said:

It may be raining, but there’s a rainbow above you.

I sobbed when I read it. The Eagles were my dad’s all-time favorite band in the world. This quote from Desperado was so perfect in so many ways. It touched me so deeply that someone thought to quote The Eagles…and picked such a perfect lyric to include.

I don’t know who sent that note with their donation, and I’m not sure I ever will find out, but that one small message meant the world to me. And now, when I’m feeling overwhelmed with grief and missing my Diddy, I try to remember that lyric.