What is "NORMAL"?

Everyone talks about the "new normal" after you lose a child. I don't believe "normal" will ever return to my house after my 18 year old son, Max, was killed in a car crash on 8/6/10. "Normal Died With Max", and this blog is about the life I have without him.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Review

Seems I have ended several years with a new years eve blog entry, this year deserves one too!  It's been a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows, that's for sure!  One year ago today, my dad was having quadruple bi-pass heart surgery.  We kicked off 2016 at a small party that evening.  Here are some of the things I experienced this year:

We spent Mardi Gras in Louisiana with the kids - it was the first time I'd ever heard of or eaten King Cake!   I was taken to paradise just off the island of Antigua with my closest friend for a week of heaven!  We celebrated Wesley's 21st birthday in Las Vegas!  And my Emmaus reunion group went to Mexico together and had the greatest bonding experience of our group to date!

We lost two of our fur babies - Sissy Lou & Espresso. Sissy helped me through Max's death and Spresso was my baby that Wesley named, so losing them both was hard on me.  I had a miserable vacation at what once was my favorite place, and I was surrounded by many of my favorite people.  I had knee surgery on one of my two bad knees.  I spent 3/4 of 2016 sick and tired with no discernible explanation.  And I watched two of my best friends tear their lives apart with divorce, and another friend also experience divorce quietly from afar.  It was and is still heartbreaking.  Another one of my very closest friends lost her father, was hospitalized for sepsis, and is watching her brother go through divorce. 

Sammie was deployed and we celebrated her coming home safe!!  We got two new fur babies - Maggie and Bacon - both of whom bring us great joy and laughter.  The discovery of my mitro-valve destruction and 5 days of misery in the hospital resulted in me losing 40 lbs of fluid to date, and feeling SO much better.  And I had another HUGE piece of my grief fall away which included a break-through in my relationship with God.  I celebrated Christmas in a much different way - not just in my changed traditions - but in my heart and soul with Jesus.  It was the first Christmas since Max died that my heart wasn't so broken with grief that I could truly experience the joy going on around and in me - seven seasons without him!

I've been shown anew that I have a tight circle of friends that are there for Todd & I, no matter what.  And an even bigger circle of friends that I am so grateful for that float in and out of my life as the weeks tick by.  I am grateful to have both my parents and both Todd's parents close & active in our lives.

2017 will involve my open-heart surgery, Wesley & Sammie's honeymoon (finally!), a cruise with just Todd and I, and only God knows what else.  I'm ready, come what may.  I hope when YOU look back over your 2016, you are able to see a bigger picture of both joys and sorrows.  If not, hang on.  You will not always feel the way you feel now if you are in a season of sorrow.  I promise.  Love to you all.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

July 4

July 4 - my family holiday.  Including a vacation, it usually cost more than Christmas did.  The last time we were in our normal holiday spot, Max William was with us.  My pappaw was with us about 30 4th of Julys down there in Oklahoma.

We shot off his fireworks at their graves before we left this year.  That felt very odd and out of sequence.  On the 4th, We did the normal shooting off and spraying up with bug spray.  The people were out and my family, including some extended family, it was almost fun.  Even had homemade ice cream (thanks Michele). 

Can I tell you a secret?   I hate the 4th now.  Most people put the word 'happy' in front of it, maybe that is part of it.  I hate the smells.  I hate that Max isn't there to enjoy it.  I hate it that Pappaw's name is on a beautiful monument he would have loved there.  After the last of the fireworks were lit, I booked it to my cabin, had a shower and sat there and cried.  Not just simple tears, but bawling my eyes out tears.  Will I ever get the joy of the 4th back?  Unknown.  I just know the last five have sucked.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Dream Again

Yesterday I went to my therapist for a 'check-up'.  I've been drifting the past year or so, waiting to see if purpose would just drop in my lap.  I am no longer in the 'active grieving' stage, firmly established in acceptance.  I just have no direction.  I am a stay-at-home mom with no children at home.  My house stays clean.  I take care of my dogs and my husband and myself as best I can.  I have freedom to enjoy many friendships. 

I am available if any of my aging parents ask for help and waiting on a someday-grandchild or two.  So is that enough?  Waiting, drifting?  I suppose it had to be that way for a time.  A time where I was emerging from the long storm started on 8/6/10.  This is the way I had been used to living.

However yesterday, she told me it was time to lift my head and start dreaming again.  I just looked at her blankly.  Dreaming?  Part of me felt fearful.  Did moving forward mean leaving Max in the past?  Honestly, that is partly true - he physically is in my past, but I also carry him with me everywhere I go, just as I do Wesley and Sammie.  She asked about where I saw my life at 47 when I was 27.  I guess I hadn't thought about it.  And when I look 20 years into the future now, I don't want to see years of my life spent waiting.

We've had a lot of storms in Kansas the past month, and for some reason I noticed the birds after these storms.  Even before the last clouds cleared, they were already out, singing their songs and going about their business.   So I have lifted my head and am ready to re-join the flock of life.

We brainstormed a bit, came up with some small ideas, some opportunities I already have going on in my life.  She told me to expand what my mind could conceive for an actual life now.  Dreams?  I have my knee issues that will surely eat up my summer, but then what?   What else ... indeed?