Thursday, February 28, 2013

Merging Grief.... x

This is a sunset outside our home...breathtaking!

Our new house sits on top of a hill. Some day’s I feel like I’m King of the Castle!

On a clear day, you can see hills miles from our home…..and on a really clear day :), you can see the roads that snake up these hills.   Probably ones that farmers herd their cows along!

Last night, I was sitting on our deck, sipping a chilled glass of New Zealand Sav Blanc, watching gnarly storm clouds roll in when Dempsey wandered out, fresh from the shower, in her mismatched of her endearing habits that makes me smile…and nag sometimes that she can’t get the matching bit right. :) Anyway, getting back to the story...

Sometimes, Dempsey’s off the cuff comments cause me to reflect.

Standing out in the dirt, in her clean pj’s she stared out at the horizon and said;  “Mummy, look at the sky. It’s a mix of day and night!”

“Yes, you’re right Precious!” I agreed.

The sky was contrasted in dark AND light….starting to merge into one.

And it reminded me of my journey through grief.

How after time, sometimes a long time, your sadness begins to merge with your happiness and you find you begin to get a handle on your emotions.

That those dark days happen less, as glimmers of light through life’s cherished moments and support from family and friends cause cracks to appear in the overwhelming dismal days.

And sometimes, you have breakthroughs, like the sun shining through the clouds, like I had on Saturday.

You see on Saturday, Dempsey was invited to a sleep over at her new friend Jenny’s house.

We were to meet the family at our local pool for a swim party first.  

Dempsey spent what seemed like forever getting ready…she was excited.   I hadn’t really had a conversation with this little girls mum before, so I was looking forward to a friendly chat at the pool.

As soon as we got there, Dempsey raced over to her friends who were lining up at the diving board.

I wandered over to the picnic bench and thanked Jenny’s mum for inviting Dempsey.   And it’s a funny thing but I haven’t been confronted with having to tell ‘my story’ with a stranger for a while…well not since meeting Rose in the park in the USA.

And this is where my breakthrough came.

The conversation went like this;

“So Diana, what are you going to do while we have Dempsey sleep over? Do you have a free night or do you have your other daughter at home tonight?”

As soon as this mum said these words I knew she thought Dempsey’s sister was alive!

I was taken aback!  I've never been asked this most people know about Savannah...that she will never be at home again! But oh how I wish.....
I felt odd.

I felt strong.

I didn’t’ feel like I was about to cry for once, or dread the reaction I knew I’d get.  I actually smiled, s.m.i.l.e.d…wow, progress for me!  

Usually I have to have had a few drinks not to cry or at least tear up or feel guilty about the effect telling someone about the death of my daughter has on them.

I smiled as I said, “Our other daughter Savannah isn’t alive, she passed away when she was four and a half…I’ll be by myself tonight!”

And I know now what to expect when you drop the bombshell….how it triggers an air of awkwardness.

The mum answered with; “Oh, I’m so sorry, Jenny told me Dempsey has an older sister!” as she stared at her feet……..

I was so proud of myself, I actually said,  “Thank you! Dempsey does have an older sister, she’s just not here with us anymore.”

And there it was, the elephant in the room, or by the pool so to speak!

Another mother I hadn’t met, who was standing beside her, blurted one of the most stupid comments I’ve heard in years!  With a rush of words she stated; “Everything happens for a reason I think!”


Happens for a reason???

What reason, I wanted to snark back.  

But I didn’t!

I held my composure and actually felt sorry for her.  It’s taken me a long time to get to this place!

So last night, thinking about my perceptive Demps and her comments about the sky merging made me realize my emotions from my grief journey have also merged, the line most days now isn’t definitive…it’s dark mixed brightly with light, sadness dimmed by my happiness, dark nights, illuminated by grateful days.

It’s a mix of holding on and letting go.  It always will be.....

And I know some people aren’t where I’m at yet, it can take years…but you will be, I promise, one day…..

It hasn’t rained here for months.

But last night, Demps and I watched the skies grow darker, we listened to thunder rumbling in the distance…..and then heavens let loose.

I welcomed the refreshing rain, breathing it in…thinking about how far I’ve come….

After all, in this life, one thing I know for sure….it’s all about learning to dance in the rain!  x

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Special kids bring special awareness... x

Dempsey and I were running late for school this morning.

I was rushing, cranky, trying to make the green light which turned red in the distance, “Damn!” I said under my breathe, as I noticed a side street that might be a short cut to Dempsey’s new school.

I clicked my blinker on and swerved down the unfamiliar street. And I’m glad I did. I discovered there’s another school hidden beneath trees behind Dempsey’s school.

As I weaved my way round past this ‘other’ school I noticed kids getting off a bus…being helped off a bus….special kids…kids with cerebral palsy…kids in wheel chairs…kids with noticeable disabilities. And I instantly thought of Savannah.

I pulled up outside Dempsey’s prestigious private school and she leapt out, back pack heaved up on her back…her skinny legs sprinting down the pavement and in the gate just as the bell rang.

I watched Demps run through the entrance of her school.

And I sat there and reflected on what it’d be like if Savannah was still alive and attending that ‘special’ school? And how it seemed like now, a simple asphalt road and a twist of fate is the only thing separating me from ‘that life’….my old life…across the road from where I was parked.

I sat in my car for a while, watching parents devotedly deliver their special children through that ‘different’ gate.

It stirred up a few emotions…

A longing for Savannah, utmost respect for the special Mums’ of these special children and a wondering of what life would be like if Savannah was still alive and I was still one of those mums…cos I was once.

I know from having the privilege of a special needs child, one with a terminal illness, that needed a lot of care, that you treasure every. little. thing. your ‘special’ child achieves.

Like smiles amongst their pain, or a night where they have peace….you accept this is how your life is…and you wouldn’t have it any other way…you wouldn’t swap your baby for anything!

Sure, you’d change the suffering if you could, however experiencing adversity changes us, makes us grow and become more compassionate to others on Struggle Street.   And I’m thankful to Savannah for teaching me that.

I wonder if those mums feel isolated like I did when Savvy was sick and I couldn’t leave the house? Or if they look across the road and yearn for a different life, like I once did?  But today, watching from my car window, I envied them…they still have their precious children with them, hardships and all. And I know they wouldn’t swap their kids for the ones lining up at Dempsey’s school.

I know their children are their teaches, as Savannah continues to be to me, that the rewards in having a special child are enormous.

So today, these kids were reminders to me to be grateful…for what I ‘had’ and for the things I'm lucky enough to enjoy in my healthy child…..but I can still imagine, what it’d be like to be dropping my two girls off, even if it was at a special school.

And when I got home, I found this piece of cotton in our hallway, on the floor…tangled up in a somewhat music note shape….a sign maybe?? 

Reminding me to stop and listen to the music…to enjoy life’s assorted notes and experiences and to be happy that I have what I do!   To slow down and hug Dempsey more…and to smile and wave next time I drive down that street…..

So tomorrow, tomorrow I’m thinking, maybe, just maybe, that’ll be my new route to drop Dempsey off at school! :)

Wishing you sunshine if your cup is blue today and a reminder to stop and enjoy the rays.....even if someday's they're hidden beneath the grey..... :) x

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tomorrow's :) x

This saying seems appropriate for me today…or this week. To quote Pink’s song – Blow me one more kiss – “Just when I think it can't get worse, I had a shit day (no!)  You had a shit day (no!), we've had a shit day (no!)

I’ve had my heart set on a job that I know I’d be passionate about….that I applied for and have been waiting all week to hear if I at least got an interview….

I’ve never been a girl that can just ‘hold your horses’ more like a ‘giddy up’ kinda girl….so this prolonging the agony of not knowing, the carrying my cell phone in my pocket all week and checking my email every ten minutes, when this company said they’d “Inform all candidates Monday the 4th of Feb” was itching away at me like a fresh mosquito bite.

Maybe I’m just tired cos I’m waking at 4am and not able to get back to sleep… mulling everything over from my week and the ‘why’s’ I hadn’t been called yet!   I even got up and watched the sun come up….

Our dog Teddy scrambled up on the side of my bed and put his nose on my clean sheets…even his doe eyes didn’t lighten my mood!

And opening this new carton of fresh eggs certainly didn’t humor me….these little brown bum nuts smiling up at me made me want to scramble the lot of them and wipe the smiles off their shells!!!

After dropping my precious one off at school I took Teddy Dog for a sprint around the lake, breathing in the fresh air and sweating out my blasting in my ears….that helped a little! :)

By mid morning, it finally got the better of me and I rang the company only to be politely told interviews were taking place today….which meant obviously I didn’t make the cut, even though I ticked all the right boxes!!!

And I know after everything I’ve been through this is really a minor set back in the grand scheme of life and daily challenges people face.   But today it was like the house of cards finally tumbled.  I didn’t’ cry, but I was just flat…down….low, whatever you want to call it.   Just disappointed I guess.

I rang my friend to have a whinge, telling him it’s the fourth job I’ve gone for and no luck…he told me, “Dee, call me back when you’ve been for 100 jobs and rejected….you’re alive aren’t you??”   And he’s right….which is why I probably called him….it’s good to have a friend that tells you how it is…that rejection can sometimes mean something better is waiting…I hope so!

I hung up the phone, made a cup of green tea and sat back and looked around me, focusing on the beauty I’m surrounded with. I thought how shit days are shit, or shit weeks…but they don’t last…well at least that’s what I told myself as I stared out the window at our lake and the glistening reflection caught in our pool fence…the pelican party going on right outside our house.

I took a deep breathe in and thought of other people worse off than me, especially kids suffering at the Children’s Hospital, or loved ones hooked up to Chemo in Cancer wards….I told myself to buck up, something else better will come along, I’ve just got to trust the Universe and not lose faith in my ability to keep trying.   It’s called strength not weakness, we all have it if we dig deep....and I know I’m good for it.

And just as I was starting to feel I was turning my frown upside down, our bloody neighbor’s dog sprinted past our window……hanging out of his mouth was the new FULL packet of our cat’s food he’d stolen from our garage!!!!

I leapt up and hammered on the glass….but he didn’t stop, he ran faster…under his fence he bolted……success! :)

I finally had to laugh; at least someone’s had a win in our neighborhood today! :)

Anyway, I hit the supermarket, bought myself a bottle of bubbles, which I’m enjoying , in a crystal glass for my I’m typing this. 

My sisters twins are here tonight, having a sleep over with Dempsey while Tone’s taken Fraser out for a father/son bonding dinner.

The girls just asked me what my blog tonight is about…so I told them, and asked what they’d say to me to make me feel better that I didn’t get the job. They smiled as they said, “You just gotta suck it up Princess” :) And I have, and I am, it's not what really matters.

I know tomorrow is a new day.  And to anyone fighting their own battle today, probably bigger than mine....tomorrow's, well tomorrow's never run out you know!

Cheers x