Archive | November, 2014

Grief Part II

26 Nov

Said good by to my sister Judy this morning. She spent 5 days with us helping with some projects. It was a huge help.
I’m in the basement watching Elliott playing “going to a meeting with my girls”. Her imagination is so fun to watch. She has on a pink tutu and a princess crown and is carrying her tutu purse that someone gave her last night. It is full of lip gloss which she loves.
We are heading into the first holiday of Daddy being gone. It is unbelievable that it will a month this Friday. We still have some good moments but when the bad moments hit, it comes with a vengeance. Last night was really rough. 2 1/2 hours of crying, being scared, wanting daddy, wanting mommy. It is when I am helpless because it’s only mommy they want in the middle of the night. 4 a.m. seems to be the witching hour for some reason. No amount of paint on the walls, new bedspreads, new clothes, or toys can ease those tears at that time. Thank goodness there was no school today. We are all exhausted.
We are going to make the best of the 5 days we will all be here. I bought a card table and chairs today, some family games, and dominoes. Kyler wants to make some paper turkeys for everyone tomorrow so we will get that done too. It’s a really cute pattern he found Pinterest last night.
We are also done fixing up for this time too. We do have Billie in her new bedroom and she has some new bedding and curtains that Gina gave her yesterday. It will be nice to get her settled in there. She is taking one more week off of work which is desperately needed. She has maybe had one full night of sleep this whole time. I hope that she can spend some time in bed during the day and rest and mourn.
I’m actually feeling tired today. I think adrenaline is such an interesting part of our body chemistry. I really have had quite a bit of energy and not very hungry. It certainly is needed at times like this.
Have seen a few friends this last week. Cindy and Gayle came by and helped out with a few projects. Very grateful for that. Had a piece of Bobo’s apple pie with friend Judy yesterday. The pie is my go to comfort food at this time. I know it’s not gluten free but I don’t care. Shelly and I have been trying to get together for days now, hopefully soon. She is a psychiatric physicians assistant and has a lot of information on grieving during the holidays. Bernie also came by. She lost her husband at a young age and she and Billie were able to visit.
Billie’s friends and family continue to be great support. Our friend Judy gave us 2 sets of KU basketball tickets so both the boys were able to go to a game with their grandpa. One of her neighbors came by yesterday and offered to put up all of the outdoor Christmas lights on the house. Her cousin Sara came over and did a super scrub on the kitchen tile. A local band donated all of their tips to her at a benefit for the family. Another group adopted them for Christmas. I think we are still getting a meal delivered every night. That has been really helpful. She is so grateful and doesn’t know how she will ever repay everyone for their kindness and generosity. I told her they are doing it all unconditionally because they all loved Justin’s family.
Last night during the night time meltdown Billie said she felt Justin’s presence for the first time. She was consoling Cade and Kyler came into the room and patted her on the side of the head like Justin used to. Then Kyler put his music headphones on her and said “Mommy relax and listen to some music”. It was Justin’s music. I think Justin was trying to help her get through the difficult hours last night.
Sooo…Grief Part II. Maybe the numbness and shock is wearing off and the real grief is just beginning. Elliott is also talking a lot more about Daddy being gone. We will get through this. We read these sad stories about little families whose parent dies young, but to actually be living through it is so hard on the heart.
Counseling has now come into the picture and they all went to a church service last Sunday and we hope to attend this week.
Praying has been difficult for me. I talk to God, but I don’t feel like I am praying. I just ask for strength to help Billie’s family get through each day.


20 Nov

Who ever came up with the saying “Good Grief”? I do not believe there is such a thing.
Cade, Kyler and Elliott are grieving in different ways. Sometimes Kyler just breaks down and cries. Elliott isn’t crying too much and feels “we have to be tough”. Cade’s grief comes out in behavior. Billie comes in and out of it also. One minute doing okay, the next minute crying so hard I can hardly bear the sound.
This morning I had a totally hopeless feeling. Tonight, better. I cry more by myself. I’m trying to be the one to just keep things going.
Billie is home until December 1st. We took the kids out of school for 3 days this week to go visit my Mom and stay with my sister Judy. It was a good trip and I think all of us could have stayed quite awhile.
Billie continues to get lots of support from her friends. Meals are delivered every night along with yummy desserts. We have made this coming Monday as “let’s all start eating healthier” week.
Grief also makes eating difficult. I haven’t been able to eat a lot of meals that are delivered and subsisted on rice cakes and peanut butter for several days.
Grief makes dressing nicely hard and also putting make-up on a pain.
Grief clogs our brain cells. I was trying to keep up on laundry and dishes. I discovered today that I have been using softener only in the wash and finish in the dishwasher, soooo basically we have just been wearing rinsed out clothing and rinsed off dishes. Yuck. Now I’m doing it correctly.
We have managed to get the living room painted. Billie’s friend Scott and I did that on Sunday. She loved it and it was a surprise for her when she got home. Monday was her 38th birthday. Tomorrow we will begin on our next painting project, the boys room.
We did find out Justin’s cause of death. Heart attack and he had the beginnings of hardening of the arteries. A piece of plaque broke off.
Denny is home working on our house. He is painting the walls in the living room and hallway. He will come back here after Thanksgiving to put up some french doors and some other things Billie needs done.
Sister Judy is arriving tomorrow to spend a few days with us to help with projects. That will be a great help.
Time to go to a meeting with one of my friends. Not that I would take a drink but I need some spiritual energy desperately.
This is the hardest thing I have ever been through but very glad I can be here for my heartbroken daughter and her little family.

The love that happens after a tragedy

9 Nov

batik flower
I just talked to Billie. She said 20 of her friends came to her house while she was gone today and raked all of her leaves, fixed the fence, and cleaned out her gutters. She has big trees so there was a lot of raking to do.
Their friends have taken care of the kids, fixed meals, held her why she cried, cleaned her house, made all the food for the buffet after the funeral. It is so overwhelmingly awesome.
Then there was some other kind of love and forgiveness on my part that happened. Many of you know I am on my 3rd marriage. I sometimes haven’t said kind things about my first 2 husbands. Last Saturday morning, the first visitor Billie had was my 2nd husband Joe. He brought food and paper products. He hugged her and also gave her a few tips regarding paperwork since he had just lost his mother. My heart melted. He was so kind, sweet and sincere, it wiped away years of anger toward him. Later that afternoon, my first husband called to talk to Billie. His name is Bill, hence the name of Billie Jay. Anyway, he was soooooo sweet on the phone and again my heart melted. Once again years of anger and resentment just went away. Another visitor on Saturday was my KC. Many of you know we have had a difficult relationship for years. I couldn’t believe the love he gave to his sister. The 3 of us were able to spend some time together alone. It was very special. I think KC and I have moved ahead. I saw so much maturity this week. It was wonderful. Both Joe and Bill were at the funeral, plus Joe’s sisters and Bill’s wife and 3 girls. Wow. Lots of healing that needed to be done since 1977.
A very cool thing happened on Saturday that I didn’t appreciate until later. I arrived at Billie’s on Saturday afternoon and Justin’s brother Geoff was so excited about a buck jumping a fence a coming into his yard! I didn’t pay much attention because in Colorado we have bucks all over the place. It was the next day that I realized that a buck in the middle of Topeka was very unusual. That same buck also went to Justin’s other brother, Bryan which about a mile away!! I am so sure that was Justin and what a powerful moment. It gives me goosebumps.
Elliott told me a couple of days ago that Daddy was in bed with her that night and was smiling at her. I will be curious how the kids will do these next few weeks. That’s why I want to be there for the holidays. Billie is a big holiday person and likes to decorate to the nines. I wonder if Grandma Birdie will have to put the outside lights up??? Yikes.
Have had a productive day gathering my sewing items and also paints. Also had a ton of laundry and trying to figure out what clothes to take. Our new plan is to leave really early Tuesday morning and arrive in Topeka that afternoon. Denny will take the train home and work on some projects here until after the 24th. Then he’ll come and stay awhile. His brain has been working hard on figuring out how to move the washer and dryer upstairs.
That’s it for now.

RIP Justin

8 Nov

photo 2 (5)

photo 1 (5)

We just arrived home after being in Topeka for a week. It seems unreal that it was just a week ago Friday that I received the call about my son-in-law Justin. I was in Pueblo with Mitzi and Ginny when Denny told me that Justin had passed away suddenly that afternoon. When I was able to get hold of Billie I couldn’t understand her through her sobs. I was an hour from La Veta and 10 hours from Topeka. Denny had already began preparations for us to leave Friday night so we could be there first thing Saturday morning. It’s hard to think when you have to leave for an emergency. I just threw some clothes in the suitcase and tossed make up and meds in a bag and we took off. It was about 1 am when we reached Oakley. Denny thought he would snooze a little bit. We parked the Jeep by the trucks. He got in the backseat and fought with Meeko over the blankie. I covered up in the front seat with Jumper in the drivers seat. First Meeko was barking so we got him to quiet down, then Jumper started licking and slurping. Finally Denny said, “I give up, I can’t sleep with Jumper slurping”. He moved to get up and he set off the alarm!!! Beep, beep beep. I’m sure we woke all the truckers up. Even though it was a short stop, it woke Denny up and he was able to drive on in to Topeka. He said he hasn’t done an all nighter for 30 years. Back in the day I remember doing it a lot.
I couldn’t wait to get to Billie. She was so distraught and sad. The weekend was busy with many friends and phone calls and people dropping off food, etc. Monday was the day we met at the funeral home and cemetery and finalized plans. That can be so overwhelming but we all made it through. Denny even took care of the boys for several hours. He was a huge help the entire week.
Wednesday night was the visitation. Oh my, there were so many friends and family that came to give their condolences. It was overwhelming. It meant so much to Justin’s brothers and his Dad and stepmom and our family too. Billies aunts and cousins came and so did her dad and stepdad. KC was very comforting and helpful too.
The funeral was packed, my sister sang, the pastor did a wonderful job, brother Geoff did the eulogy and was wonderful, there was a mile long procession to the graveside. Over 100 came back for the luncheon. Billies girlfriends made all the food for that. Wow. Justin being such a huge sports fan, everyone was asked to wear their favorite teams sweatshirts. The pallbearers all wore Royals World Series Hoodies. Justin would have loved that.
That evening friends and family came to the Ramada Inn and the little kids could all swim and the adults could visit and share stories. It was a nice way to end the day.
I have felt the last 2 days. There were so many heart wrenching moments during the week. Millions of tears. I didn’t know that I could cry nonstop for 2 hours at times. The kids had their very sad moments. Billie at times was inconsolable. But now, maybe I am just numb? Probably tired. I’ll spend Sunday packing up sewing machines, fabric, paints, clothes to take back to Topeka. I’ll stay with Billie through the holidays. Several of us are going to do some painting and repairs on the house. I want to help with breakfast and dinner and delivering kids to where they need to be. Denny will come a few days later to do some bigger projects. We hope to move her washer and dryer upstairs.
I know I am rambling. Just wanted to write for awhile.