Sunday, February 27, 2011

Happy Birthday! (Number 8)

As we are on our way to Saddleback Mountain to ski for the weekend, I don't have time to put up an appropriate post for this very important day. You see, 8 years ago today, I became a mother for the very first time. Obviously it was a moment I'll never forget and one that continues to change my life profoundly. When Erin was born, I was planning to breastfeed her for 6 weeks (more wasn't really necessary, right?), go back to work immediately and never look back. Wow. Clearly that didn't happen. Anyway...

Erin is such an amazing kid and I love watching her grow. I'm so blessed to be home with her every day and be a part of her journey out into this world. I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Happy Birthday, Erin!

Friday, February 25, 2011


Unschooling is a journey--an amazing, eye-opening journey of self-discovery for both the children and the parents. Trust is a huge part of this, as is watching children make mistakes and watching them celebrate their victories. This may not look like a victory to someone who likes a tidy kitchen, but to my not-yet-8-yo who just made her very first pan of brownies from start to finish all by herself, it is an important victory.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The WhatIfs

It think it is human nature to second guess everything. I know that for years after Sophie died, I spent time wrapped up in the WhatIf game. Of course there is no point to this game--we all do the best we can with the information we have at the time--and it is only the passage of time that allows us to move through those doubts and accept the consequences of our choices. In the 5 days since Amy's death, I have been rapidly second-guessing each and every minute I spent with her and wondering if I really was there for her as much as possible. Obviously I was doing the best I could and I know this. I've no doubt that Amy knows it too and even with all the bumps, I know our friendship would have lasted another million years, easy.

So on Wednesday, I stood up in front of a room filled to the very brim with people who loved Amy. Friends, family, colleagues...all there to honor the too short life of a very loving and giving person. I stood there and tried to sum up 20 years of friendship...and I couldn't do it. I mean, I spoke and people said it was great...but I just don't feel like I did her justice at all. I don't know as there is a way to adequately express the very simple idea that Amy was just always there. She was always there, always helping, always a part of our lives--a big part. From college, to our wedding, to our pets, to our kids...Amy was just always there. Always. So I can talk about the inside jokes and the strange/funny/interesting things we have done over the last 20 years, but it simply doesn't explain it just right, you know? And this is what I'm stuck on right now, as I play the WhatIf game. WhatIf I had said something better, something clearer, something a bit deeper and more meaningful? How could I have done this? How could I have better expressed myself (through tears, granted) and explained how deeply woven into very fabric of our family Amy was? I just couldn't do it. Now her apartment is empty, the memorial service is done, the ashes are on our shelf and, just outside my window, time is marching on. And as time passes, I will become more comfortable with how things went and I will again trust that I did the best I could with the information I had at the time. Amy is now in a place where she can read my feelings straight from my heart...and she already knows what it says there. I will forever wish I had found a way to convey these feelings to the people at her service, but in the end, the one person who needs to know it, already does. I will find peace with time.

Monday, February 14, 2011

It is sinking in...

It was this past Saturday, during the end of Evan's birthday party, that I got the call about Amy’s death. After the initial feeling of shock, I went into "business mode" and began to put into place everything we had been talking about for months. I went down to her apartment on Sunday to meet up with her mother and Sara. We sat and talked for a while, shared some stories and outlined some specifics about the service. Then her mom left and Sara and another friend and I began to clean the apartment. I didn't shed a tear as I packed up books and clothes. I didn't have a problem wrapping up her dolphin figures or packing up her cd collection. That afternoon, we all went to Amy's favorite restaurant to finalize plans for her service. We got the date and time, figured out the menu and how we would set up the room. Sara is in charge of the slide show, I'm in charge of the ice problem. Then I drove home. When I got home, Chris and I worked out the most "normal" schedule we could for the week while still allowing time for the final apartment cleaning and Megan's busy week at school. All was fine. I emailed my employer and told her I would definitely be at work this week and that I really was okay.

Then I woke up this morning...and Megan didn't want to go to school, Evan only wanted to nurse, Erin didn't want to get dressed, and the worst? I'm having trouble reaching the distributor for Ben and Jerry's to deliver enough ice cream for 80 people at the memorial service. I feel like I'm losing my mind. Tears are ready to spring at any moment and I simply cannot believe that I'm facing the rest of my life without Amy.

So I talked to my employer. I'm taking the rest of the week off.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's done...

It seems almost surreal to me that on the day I am celebrating the birth of the very miracle Amy never doubted for a minute, one of my strongest supporters and closest friends ends her battle with cancer.

I'll miss you, Amy, more than I will ever be able to adequately express here and now.

Happy Birthday!

Two years ago today, a small piece of our shattered hearts was put back into place, a miracle we were too afraid to believe in happened, and our family was made more complete.

What would we do without our climbing, tumbling, singing, show-stopping, happy, crazy, sister-doting, all-around amazing little man?

Happy Birthday, Evan Christopher!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Promise

Things have been bad the past week or so. With Amy in hospice and "very close" to the end (though still, still, lingering on), I have been driving to Lewiston as often as possible--once every 2-3 days, depending on work schedules and such. It has been nuts and unfair to everyone involved. Me being gone means my husband has to miss a lot of time at work, I have to miss my shifts at work, the kids have to get shuffled from friend to friend, we have to lean on other family members a bunch (which, of course, disrupts their lives as well), and life just generally feels like it is one straw away from crashing down. As awful and selfish as it is to admit this out loud, I am definitely feeling like a hostage in this situation. Why? Because I made a promise to a friend. She controlled everything about her death--everything. The paperwork, the legal documents, the stuff...all of this has been planned out for months and is all taken care of. But there was this one thing. This one thing that was out of her control and scared her the most. Nobody, not her friends, not her mother, not her doctors, not even herself, could control the end. How it would happen, when it would happen...nobody knew. All she was clear about was that she did not want to linger on in pain and she did not want to be a burden on others. But we couldn't promise that, now could we. We couldn't give her any assurances about that. All we could tell her was that she wouldn't be a burden, that we would be with her and that she wouldn't die alone. Did you catch that last bit? That she wouldn't die alone.

Now here we are. There are only three of us who are allowed to see her right now. Three of us trying to do the impossible round-the-clock hand-holding for someone we all care very deeply about. Someone we promised would not die alone. And the truth of it is (oh man, this is hard to admit)...the hard truth is...I don't want to do it anymore. Am I not the worst friend you have ever met in your life?? I'm feeling so trapped. Trapped between this promise that I made to a friend back when I couldn't even wrap my brain around her impending death, and my life that needs me, whole and now. Because I'm not whole with them right now--my mind is always on the next schedule maneuver or the deep sadness I'm feeling or the guilt I feel at both short-changing my family and feeling like a hostage--because there is a lot of guilt associated with that feeling, believe me.

So here we are, approaching my son's second birthday and I haven't even managed to get him a present or bake a cake yet (will happen tomorrow, I swear!). We do have a small gathering planned and we'll sing to him, watch him blow out two candles and eat a cake that will hopefully look like a blue dinosaur. After this, I will pack up and head back down to be at Amy's side. I guess I'm finding a balance, for the most part. I know these feelings of guilt and anger are normal and natural for someone in my shoes. I know they will pass. And I know that for the rest of my life, I will never, ever regret my actions in this matter. I will not regret the time spent talking to her, holding her hand, brushing back her hair, or swabbing her dry lips with water as she struggles to breathe. I will not regret fulfilling my last promise to her. I know this. And I also know, and will admit, that I will be happy when this is all over. That's the truth.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


How tall are your children?