Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I've been thinking a lot about the definition of family. Sure most people consider 'family' limited among those with whom they share DNA. I do not. Of course many of the people to whom I was born are considered family but there are many more that I have no shared genes with at all. I think when you go through a crisis, as horrible as it is, it is also a microscope for your life. You can examine who was there and who was not. When we got the phone call that Ian's dad died it was ten o'clock on a Saturday night. What followed was four hours on the phone with various airlines trying to make flight arrangements for the following morning. More phone calls to schedule the unexpected pick up of my son who was 100 miles away. But there is one phone call that stands out. I knew that we would have to leave the following morning and no vets would be open to kennel our myriad of animals. I called my step mother, Ruth, and I told her what was going on and that we needed her to take care of our pets. She asked if she should come over (by this time is was close to 11pm and I told her no, she could just come over in the morning and I'd go over the dogs and cats' routines.) About 20 minutes later, she knocked on my door and proceeded to stay with us until we had our airline tickets and a plan. It was 2am when she left. She didn't have to come but she wanted to. And truthfully I needed her here. For 8 days she cared for our animals coming to our house 4 times a day to feed them and let them out. She also took down our Christmas decorations since we weren't coming home until well after Christmas and she wanted to make it as easy as possible for us when we got home after a 13 hour travel day. Also, waiting in the fridge was a week's worth of prepared meals. The day after we got home my brother and his wife brought over a meal. Ian's work sent a beautiful plant to his dad's funeral and many people called to check on us and offered to help in any way in the weeks that have followed. We have recieved beautiful symphathy cards from our family...none of them related to me by blood...but all my family. The second day we were home our plumbing backed up and we had raw sewage in our bathtubs, once again Ruth had us come to her house for the night and my brother called a friend of his and found a reliable plumber for the following day. This past Saturday night we spent the evening with much of my "family" and I realized just how lucky we are. It was loud and joyful and we felt very accepted and loved. It's easy to think when your parents are gone and you don't have many connections with the people left behind that you are alone, an orphan, so to speak. But we are not. I have been blessed with an amazing son (who literally saved my life) and given the gift of two brothers and a sister who I love very much. I inherited a wonderful family when my father married after my mother's death and I inherited a wonderful family when I met Ian and we have great friends who, even though they don't have to be, are there when it counts. Family has very little to do with your blood and everything to do with your heart.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Death Dates

So, I was sitting here today wondering how to work through all of the stuff that has gone on. Yesterday was extremely stressful (thankfully, we got good news during Brandon's dr. appointment). Today I woke up with a headache (which is usual after days of extreme stress) and realized that yesterday was also the three year 'anniversary' (for lack of a better word) of my Grandmother's death. From October until January, it seems like all Ian and I do is observe the 'death dates' of our families. Both of our mothers died in October. My father died in November. His father died December 26, 2009. And my beloved Grandmother died in January. My brother lost his baby in November of this year as well. It just seems like no matter where we look there is loss. Of course we have much to be thankful for but it is all getting a little old. The death and destruction of lives and families seems unfairly tilted in our direction. Call this a pity party if you will, I don't care.I don't want to think about my parents in the past tense. I don't want to talk about having a baby with the man I love and on the heels of it have to consider that our child will have no grandparents because all of our parents are dead. I want to have what other people have...a mother and a father and a grandparent for my children and memories that aren't filled with death and pain. I want to be able to grieve and move on...not start to grieve...then lose someone else and start to grieve...and never completely get over the first loss before there is another. I want to be able to celebrate a holiday without it being connected to a death. So maybe this is a blog...or maybe it's a prayer. I just want a break from death for a while. That is all. Amen.

Friday, October 9, 2009

October 9

On this day, 32 years ago, Ian's mother lost her battle with cancer. She was 30 years old. He was six. Sadly, we have this loss in common.
October 1st was the 27 year anniversary of my mother's death. She had turned 35 years old the day before she died. I was five.
I don't have too many memories of my mother but I do remember watching her die. I remember everything that was said and everything I saw. I remember my brother, Chris, filling up a bowl of water and telling us to give it to mom and trying to wake her up to drink it while he called for help. Later he told us he meant for us to throw the water on mom to wake her up. I remember the paramedics arriving and even though they tried to make us turn away I remember peeking and watching her body jerk as they applied the defibrillators to restart her heart. And I have a few glimpses of her life in my memory as well. Sitting on the counter in a darkened kitchen lit only by the light above the stove, watching her stir a big pot with a wooden spoon. She is telling me that no matter what happens I will always be her baby. Maybe she knew something the rest of us didn't. I remember her running with me and my sister,Brandi, and jumping on the couch as we watched Chris run down the hall screaming 'there's a rat!' with the mouse actually running between his feet. I remember her drinking wine with sugar in it. She told me it was meant to thin her blood and watching her lay in bed, read and drink her wine while I was supposed to be napping when she let me lay with her instead of going to my room. I remember finding a deaf kitten and her letting me keep it even though my dad said no. I remember dad coming back to the neighbors house that we had been rushed to after the ambulance finally took mom away and telling us that she was never coming home. I remember when we moved from Plano, I was sad because I thought that if we moved she couldn't find us when she came back. To a five year old, death isn't permanent. I remember having a dream of her where she did come back and she brought a bag full of gold from Heaven as a present for us. I remember missing her when my own son was born and when my father died and when my beloved grandmother died. And I miss her today. This year on my mother's birthday, Ian bought me a gift. He wanted to celebrate her birthday he said because without her, he wouldn't have me or Brandon. I know she would have loved how much he loves us both.
So today, Ian, my great love, I want to say that although we have both suffered the loss of our mothers, we have each other and we have a wonderful son. And sometimes that is life's plan...sometimes life throws you a life-raft...even in the darkest of waters. I am so blessed to have you in my life. I love you.