Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Destination Unknown....

This week Dempsey is ‘Top Chef’ at school….which means it’s all about ‘her’ for five days in her class.

What she likes, dislikes, her favorite things in life, her family…and I have the privilege of speaking to her class mates on Thursday all about ‘her.’ I’ve been threatening to tell her peers how she used to crawl under our dining table to pooh in her diaper…which of course was met with a “Noooooo Mummy!!!” And of course I wouldn’t do that, but I love her reaction. :)

So going over some old photos to take in I found this one;

When this photo was taken, Dempsey was 6 months old…my world was crumbling apart at the seams, however, as you can see, Dempsey was my bright beacon…always happy…and those dimples!!!!   :)

Anyway, looking back through her photos made me wonder about her destination in life…what mark she will leave on this world?

What experiences will define the person she becomes?

What will leave an imprint on her soul?

Who will be her heroes?

And none of us know our destination…it can change in a heartbeat, and that’s the beauty about life…..destination unknown!  It really is an adventure....good or bad.

So as I peeped at February on our calendar, which I can’t believe is tomorrow…. I noticed the quote on the top…

I love these inspirational calendars! It says “The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same.  Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination." - Don Williams Jr.”

And it’s true, every new day creates a new possibility…we can control our attitude but there’s a lot we can’t control in life most of the time.

Fate is one of them….

Like the TV show “Wheel of Fortune.”   You don’t know where your wheel will stop, or what prize you’ll be given….or...whether you’ll miss a turn….

And it seems my wheel has been spun these past few weeks, and by chance, or destiny, fate has landed on my space.  

You see I’ve been offered the most amazing opportunity.  I’ve been approached by Ruthe from The Let It Be Foundation where I volunteer, to become a 'Grief Group Facilitator'…to help heal other parents who’ve lost a child…who’s heart isn’t as strong as mine is….yet!

For the past three Monday evenings I’ve been training with an amazing, insightful, generous soul named Sue…one of my new hero’s.

Sue is an author, a nurse and the creator of the New Hope Grief Support Organization.  She’s had over 20 years experience leading support groups in the community to help others heal from their losses. Receiving her wisdom and compassion has been inspiring.

The training sessions have been a lot of fun....if you can imagine that!

They’ve also been confronting, however in a good way. And I’ve learned I’m ready to reach out with my experiences of losing my loved ones and provide hope to other parents who’ve experienced the worse grief has to offer.

Last night, sitting in a circle while the fire crackled behind us, we talked about how if you’re only 6 months into your grief journey you cannot comprehend that the sadness will ever go away….you cry every day…but as survivors who’s journey has been longer, we are living proof that the sadness does ease, it never disappears, but it does change and become manageable….and that will give another hope…..

My destination has changed from what it was before my losses…however, because of my grief experience, life is deeper now, my values changed and my ability to notice the beauty that surrounds my journey is blinding.   And that’s the one thing I’d never have imagined…that from all this tragedy, I’d be taught gratitude and compassion.

So I’ve been given the chance to give back because of Savannah, to make a gift out of my grief…I hope I can be a hero to someone someday, like Savannah was to me and like Sue is to so many, anyone can alter or try to change their destination...after all… “Heroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the treasure of their true selves.” - Carol Lynn Pearson

I can’t wait to start slaying! :)

ps;  Here is the link to Sue's "New Hope Grief Support Orginization" where they offer some amazing support, Grief Camp and other programs;  http://www.newhopegrief.org/

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Moments that mold us into who we become....and some thanks x

Life and death have a way of shaping us into who we are.  In grief we are dismantled, changed......however, over time we are put back together by people and love and memories and molded into something else.

Unique moments...gratitude....and recognizing special moments wrap themselves around us and change the way we view the ordinary.  Like today…

I’m sitting here in front of our fire, the heat it's radiating warms me to my bones…the flames are dancing to the music Dempsey is gifting me with on her new piano.

The song she’s tapping out on the ivories is “The Caravan” and it sounds a lot like either a snake charmer should be in playing some exotic flute in front of me…or a flock of belly dancers are about to descend on our home.   And I don’t know if I’d have recognized these special things if it wasn’t for all the experiences I’ve been through these past years. I call these little moments “The Gift of Grief.”  I almost have to pinch myself! :)

Last Saturday was Savannah’s anniversary and while I went into that bottomless pit of emotions, I also had many cherished one’s that helped put a band aid on my heart.

You see last Thursday, out of the blue, Dempsey’s amazing Russian piano teacher phoned to say she was selling her daughters piano…knowing we were interested. So we gladly snatched it up.

And on Savannah’s special day my cell phone rang to say the piano was on a truck, being delivered….that day, her day….it was almost like a gift to Dempsey from her big sister…and boy was it special!

So this past week we’ve had the most amazing music filtering into all corners of our home from Dempsey’s new piano….and it’s magnificent!

Then on Thursday, I got to watch my baby play on a Baby Grand at her piano lesson…wow!   I couldn't stop smiling....a memory that's imbedded itself in my mind forever.  I just feel so blessed!

On Savannah’s special day, family and friends didn't forget, and to anyone who's lost someone...that's what they fear...that our loved ones will be forgotton....that it's been X amount of years gone by and we are somehow okay now....

A family in Australia whom I adore...and who Savannah did too, sent delicate pink roses for her….they smelt sweet and were fragile...and pretty….like she was…and it meant so much....

This weekend it’s rained in sunny California….and I love it.

I love the sound of the soft pitter patter on the roof and the fact that everything’s been cleansed….me included! :)

My new year started this week, it does every year.....

I feel full of love and have had my heart molded like play dough, thanks to some special people in my life and my gorgeous Demps!

And today is my dad’s 78th birthday.

Tonight, as I wished him a happy birthday down the phone line…across the miles and told him how much I love him, it seems Dad too has had a bit of sculpting done…the rough old edges chipped away, into a softer, wiser soul through his grief and life..…in his words…

”I feel so lucky to have my family, that’s all that matters to me…some people don’t realize how important family is. When you get to my age Diana, you’ll understand!”

I smiled as I hung up the phone......and thought to myself…I don’t need to be 78…I already know Dad, I already know!

Wishing you sunshine if your cup is blue.....or snow filled....or damp from the rain....no matter what, there's always beauty in the little bits... x

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Forever Four.....another year gone by

From Peter Pan;  

"Peter Pan; Forget them, Wendy. Forget them all. Come with me where you'll never, never have to worry about grown up things again.

Wendy: Never is an awfully long time.  You won't forget me, will you?

Peter: Me? Forget? Never.

Wendy: Will you ever come back?

Peter: To hear stories......about me......"

Another year Bubby, another year without you….it feels like only yesterday that you were here with us all….

I wonder where you are?

I look for you in Dempsey….in her eyes…I look for you in little girls, and teenagers, almost your age…I will always search for you.

I see in you butterflies and cherry blossoms and the blue sprinkled in a rainbow.

I feel you in the warm sunshine and I breathe you in after a rain shower.

I hear you in Dempsey’s giggles.

You are everywhere…but not here…

Death reached out and took your tiny hand….but part of you will always live in the corner of my heart.

And so, I remember, because you’re impossible to forget…..

You dying will always be my reason for living…because you can’t.  And the lessons you left with us I’m still learning from…my life richer because of your time here Bubby.

Even in your pain, you taught us so much…and I will always hang on to that, your utter love…the memory of your arms around my neck, of you quietly reading your books, and collecting pine cones in your little red wagon…your infectious laugh and those beautiful soulful blue eyes.  Those memories will never leave…and I’m grateful for them.....for you.

I imagine you somewhere….dancing and twirling, free from your disease, watching over us…over Dempsey.

Some day’s, I smile when I think of you…and other days it’s not easy that you’re missing. Not easy to steal a vision of how you’d be now…and all the things you’ve missed…I’ve missed, Daddy and Dempsey has missed about you.  I will always wonder, until the end of my days.

But I know you are in my laughter, my tears, my sadness, my joy.  You will always be a part of that…always be forever four, trapped in time but locked into my heart for eternity.

But ultimately, you were here Bubby…for a little while….and you were mine….and at least I’ll always have that.

Mummy misses you...

Bye baby bunting, Daddy’s gone a hunting, gone to get a rabbit skin, to wrap our precious Savannah in…. x

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The week leading up to 'her' day.....

Last week I joined the gym. And I’m feeling pretty good about that! :)

The rush I get when I push myself…when beads of sweat trickle down my face feels good…like I’m being cleansed.  It’s like I’m exorcising (instead of exercising) some of my demons out. And this time of year the despised D’s are granted access into my mind….

You see this week is Savannah’s week. The week she left us…the week she slowly deteriorated before our eyes and there was nothing we could do…the week she took her last breathe.

Savannah 2 weeks before she died in the jacuzzi with Peter and Dempsey

And no matter how hard I try, I’m pre-occupied with haunting memories of that week.   And anyone who’s lost someone know’s, sometimes the week leading up to the day can be harder than the actual anniversary.

So sweating away on the stair mill today, with my iPod on shuffle, the song “In the arms of an angel” came on. 

It’s one of my favorites and usually makes me emotional, but today while exercising…listening to the words - “You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie. You’re in the arms of an Angel, may you find some comfort here.”  I lost it. I had to hit pause, step off the stepper and surrender to my tears in the safety of a toilet stall.

Push play.....

I know this week will be filled with moments like that….and I know the tears help to heal.  I know I can’t just shut these feeling out.  My grief is a life long process…and especially on anniversary weeks, it intensifies.

However, I’m ready for it.  I know what’s coming.  The remembering.  The longing....and the “why’s?” I also know that by next week the sadness and pain will simmer back down.

Friday night we had our first get together around our back T.

These days, not much surprises me…..but Friday night, I was overwhelmed and staggered at a friend of ours, her generosity and insight.

This friend, Nicola, hasn’t seen us since the mid 1990’s.  She’s been a career girl in Bahrain, living a fascinating life, however, last year, through good old Facebook, we reconnected.  

And as you do when you touch base with someone from your past you ask questions.  Nicola told me all about her exciting life and finished off the email with..”I had a quick look on your FB – you guys have got 2 little girls, gorgeous….your turn!”

I thought, “Oh no!...she doesn’t know all that’s happened.” And I wasn’t sure how she’d react to our tale of happiness, love, tragedy and heartache.  But I was pleasantly surprised.  She was more compassionate than many of my friends are...and it was comforting!

So Friday night, she brought me a gift.  In a little black velvet pouch…with a letter, for she somehow remembered it’s Savannah’s anniversary on Saturday.

These days, I don’t do letter’s in front of the giver’s as I get emotional.  So I saved her note but pulled open the pouch.

Out dropped the most beautiful black stones. Two of them. One for Peter and one for me. (I know Peter won’t utilize his stone..he won't talk about Savannah's death)

They are Apache Tear’s also known as Black Apache Tear Crystals. And if you’re like me and have never heard of them, they are healing crystals.

Legend states after the Pinal Apaches were attacked by the military. Almost 50 of the 75 Apaches were shot during the surprise assault. The remainder of the tribe withdrew to a cliff edge and chose to die by leaping off the rock face.

For years following, the Apache women wept and mourned their loved ones where the bleached bones of the dead were wedged in the crevices of the cliff.  Their sadness was so enormous, and their burden of sadness so genuine that the Great Father imbedded the tears of the Apache women into the black stones.

‘Legend’ also states, “He who owns an Apache Tear Drop will never have to cry again because the Apache women have shed their tears in place of yours.”

Beautiful right? These stones are meant to help with deep healing…and God knows I could use some of that this week!

So I was flabbergasted, teary, grateful and oh so moved by Nicola’s gift.  She’d even spent two hours performing Reiki on them….in hope they’ll help us.

Nicola's lovely note...

We spent the early hours of Saturday morning talking about grief and death and afterlife…and “Why Savannah?”  And I know I’ll never know why….it will haunt me forever. 

However, my wise, beautiful friend also had a different view on “Why it was her time..”

Nicola’s suggestion was that maybe she was taken by her guardian Angels early so something even more horrific didn’t happen down the track.

                           Beautiful at almost 3....Savannah just before her disease progressed...

And while I appreciated her point of view, to me, there is nothing more hellish than Metachromatic Leukodystrophy.  It stole everything from her, period!

Friday night I slept with my Apache Tear’s under my pillow hoping their legend will work some magic on my coming week….

And if they don’t, that’s okay too…I know I’ll be in the arms of some Angels, in friends like Nicola and those that knew Savannah.

There’s nothing anyone can do to alter my pain. It’s mine alone.  However, those that reach out do make a difference on those difficult days…and I will find comfort in that....

They know this week is challenging….it always will be….however, their love, support and remembering, will carry me through….like my memories of a beautiful little 4 year old girl who's time was cut short.

“In this sweet madness, oh this glorious sadness
 That brings me to my knees
 In the arms of an Angel far away from here
 From this dark, cold hotel room, and the endlessness that you fear
 You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
 In the arms of an Angel; may you find some comfort here….."