Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hannah's Last Award

This has been a really emotional and hard week. It's the end of the school year and that means so many lasts for me. We packed Hannah's room on Saturday for the move. I've spent the week saying good bye to teachers and school faculty. Friday Kyle graduates from High School. We get the keys to our new house Saturday, and Sunday would have been Hannah's 9th Bday. If I get through this week it will only be by the grace of God.

Yesterday was the end of the year awards ceremony for Hannah's school. They asked if I could receive Hannah's award. It is something I wanted to do so I did. When they asked me I said yes, and then cried for an hour afterwards. The day got here and I was glad to have two of Hannah's classsmates to help distract me. It was our turn to recieve awards. Hannah's teacher said a few words and then began calling each of the boys to receive their rewards. When it came time for Hannah's, she was choked up. She loved my girl so much. I blew Hannah a kiss, received her medal, hugged her teacher and cried, and then stood with Hannah's classmates as the parents, teachers, and administrative staff gave her a standing ovation. I did good. I cried some but not too much. Then we went out for photos and I held it together pretty durn good I think. When I drove into my driveway and parked my van however I bawled. That was the last award my girl would ever receive. This was the last school year I'd ever prepare her for starting a new year. No more summers of she and I having school together. So many final moments and it was tough.

Last night Rachael and her girls dropped by with a framed picture of the Central Baptist GA's(helped Hannah get Koolio), Hannah, and Koolio. It has paw prints on it and signatures of the girls. It is a precious gift that I will cherish always.

I'm thanking God in the midst of all my heartache for so many things. I'm thanking him for strength and courage. I'm thanking him for the quickenings he gave me and pushes to require a little extra out of myself. I'm so very thankful for all the time I invested in Hannah's life. It was not an easy life, but it was a blessed one. I'd gladly do it all over again. I learned so much from Hannah. I will never take another day, another hour, or moment for granted. Life is too precious.

Here are a couple photos of the day. I look awful but I don't care. It was an incredible day for me. Hannah was remembered and those days are very special in my eyes.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Packing Hannah

This has been a very emotional week for me. On Wednesday I had dinner with Hannah's teachers. On Thursday I visited Hannah's school. I did really well until I left. As I walked down the ramp, along the sidewalk, through the building, to the office, out the office, and into my van, my heart broke. Hannah loved that place. I got to see her guy pals, Alexis, Israel, and Charley Boy(as Hannah called him). When Koolio and I walked in the room Charley and Israel ran to Koolio. They were excited. Alexis ran and was messing with paper. I was a little surprised by that because Alexis always enjoyed Koolio so much. Later however he came to pet Koolio and we noticed that he had made a puppet of Koolio. It had floppy ears and everything. I just love that boy. I had a pin with Hannah's picture on my jacket and Israel made me cry when he rubbed it with his hand and wanted it. It was really tough to do but I'm glad I went. Hannah's teachers are the most awesome humans on this planet and she was very fortunate to have them. I will forever be grateful for the love and care they gave my Hannah.

Yesterday my friend Mary came to be with me as I packed Hannah's things. That was a hard thing to do. After we finished I just climbed in her bed and cried. I decided that if I even thought it might have some significance I was keeping it. I'll go through it more later when I can. We also created a box of things I wanted to keep close and easily accessible. The last blanket she lay on, her favorite books, pillow, etc. So, it's done and I'm glad it's done but it was oh so sad. I was completely and totally mentally exhausted and a numbness set in similar to what I felt right after her funeral. Still I felt the prayers of my friends and had a friend with me that helped me keep it all in perspective. I'm thankful.

All these good byes are really tough. I pray none of you ever have to experience the loss of your child. There is no worse heartache. The only thing that gets us through it is the prayer and support of friends. Thank you!

Monday, May 17, 2010

4 mths

Today marks four months since Hannah passed away. I started feeling a cloud around me yeserday and it is continuing today. There is no way to get around this loss. Sometimes I think you just have to allow yourself a meltdown. Your mind won't let you do anything else anyway. Then after the meltdown you start putting one foot in front of the other again until the next one. So between meltdowns you make some progress down the road however it is slow, excruciating, and takes a tremendous will to go on.

I don't like life without Hannah. I'm trying to because she loved life, and I know that if I can love it, I'd be honoring hers. Still it is very difficult. Something happened to us that is irreplacable when she left this world. We fed off her love for everything around her. She inspired us, entertained us, and just plain gave life meaning. We're all kind of floundering around trying to find it on our own and being very unsuccessful.

The next few weeks will be an emotional rollercoaster. Kyle will graduate from high school on the 28th of this month. I'm so proud of him. He's done well to have dealt with all the obstacles the last few years have held. He's wanting to go to college and he's doing all he can to get there. He's an impressive young man and I think he'll make an impact in this world in ways that are much needed. So, I'll be saying goodbye to his childhood and watch as he embraces adulthood. It's both a sad and exciting time.

On the 29th we will get the keys to our new house and can begin the process of relocating. I'm excited about the house.(VERY excited) I'm excited about having David work closer to home. I'm excited about living in the big city.(a little nervous too) I'm excited about the opportunites we'll have. However, I'm sad to leave the only home Hannah ever knew, the community and friends that we love so much, and teachers and school staff that loved my girl almost as much as I did. It breaks my heart when I think about leaving but I also know that I have to do it. I cannot tell you how hard it is to walk by Hannah's room everyday. Not only does it hold the memory of Hannah but also Billie. Our home feels like a shrine. Everything is just as she left it. I thought that was going to be good but I'm finding it's not. I need to get out of this house where every single thing I do reminds me of my loss. I don't want to ever forget but I do need to be able to live outside of it. If it's at all possible to do that. I know a lot of people do not understand and I wish I was able to explain in a way that they could. I just can't. We love this place but we need change. So, we'll sadly say goodbye and hold God's hand in the next phase of our life. If you're upset with our decision then I pray you see it for what it is. We weren't out to hurt anyone with it. We are just doing what we have to do to keep going.

The 30th would have been Hannah's 9th birthday. Guess it explains a little why I'm having such a hard time lately. Her 8th birthday was wonderful. We were so excited she was well enough for the party. The tears are flowing right now as I think about not having her here this year. We're going to plan a picnic at her grave site and have chicken nuggets, fries, shakes, and cupcakes. All her favorites. Last year I was buying stuff to decorate her room like a classroom for her birthday. She LOVED it. This year all I can do is buy flowers to put in the ground. I can't buy her any pretty clothes or shoes. It's incredibly painful. People just have no idea.

I guess this turned into a pity party posting. I don't want it to be but it is what it is. I'm just sad. I'm not hopeless. I'm broken. I'm not forsaken. God is my refuge and strength! In HIM I have placed my trust. I'm thankful above all because I am not alone in my grief. Never alone....

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day

Yes, it was a tough one but I made it. I woke up to cards from the men in my life and the tears started. I miss my girl. I've always known she'd never be back but there comes a time in the grief process where it sets in and it's really hard. I have felt heartache like I can not even describe. Life has been forever altered for me and I have to find my way in this new world. It's really tough stuff. I said that already didn't I? Every step I take to move on, my heart wants to pull me back. But it wants something that is no longer there. Somehow Hannah has to remain part of my life but in my new world. It's a journey that keeps me on my knees and in God's word for sure. So, yeah Mother's Day was terribly difficult, but still good. I had breakfast with my men and hung out with them all day. They don't mind my tears. They just hug me and let me know they miss Hannah too. I'm blessed to have two wonderful boys, a fabulous husband, and my Koolio.

Last week was a busy one. We've been needing to move for some time. We could not make up our minds about whether to move closer to David's job or not. I've been looking everywhere and praying hard. Everything I looked at was either way over our budget or the neighborhood was less than desirable. On Sunday I saw a house online in Arlington. I loved it from the pictures but you never know if the pictures will do it justice. I made arrangements to look at it Tuesday, fell in love with it the minute I saw it, filled out an ap, and met the owner on Saturday to discuss terms and show the house to David. So, we will be relocating in a few weeks to Arlington. The house and neighborhood are for us. David and I are in awe of how it is everything we've ever wanted. We are excited and ready for the next chapter of our lives in this home we already love.

That all being said leaving Hillsboro will be very hard. It's the only home Hannah ever knew. It's been a place that has supported our family through very difficult times and has rallied behind us in everything we've endeavored to do. We have friends here. Very dear friends who mean the world to us. The teachers and support staff that loved my girl almost as much as I do are here. Leaving will not be easy and the decision was one we agonized over. It's just time.

David's job is more demanding and time consuming, gasoline is nearing $3 a gallon, Kyle will be at Huntsville in college, our current home is in need of a lot of work, Zach wants to get into radio stuff, and I will go back to school eventually. We all feel like we need change. Everywhere we go and everywhere we look someone or something reminds us of our loss. Not that we'll ever forget it but we just can't live in it all the time. I'm hoping people will understand.

Here are pictures of the house...

Friday, May 7, 2010

My Ideal Day

I've been meeting weekly with a wonderful group of women who are truly inspirational. The group will end in three short weeks and I'm sad to see it be over. I do feel tremendously blessed to have had this opportunity at a time when life made very little sense to me. It still doesn't make a lot of sense but I have a heightened awareness of exactly where my hope lies. It's ALL in God's hands and He has promised that EVERYTHING will work for my good if I love him. That is what I told Him in that little shower stall at Cook Children's hospital in Fort Worth the night before Hannah died. I told Him that I wanted her with me but that if he needed her I would let her go and I would still love Him. I still love my Hannah, I still love my God, and because I do there is hope.

One of our tasks this week for the group was to imagine an ideal day and to write it. I thought it would be difficult to do but I did it in just a few minutes. I'm sharing it here only because I think it would be a great exercise for anyone to do and would encourage you all to give it a try. Just let it flow and see what happens. Also, because so much of my "ideal day" was about Hannah's life I thought it would be appropriate to share. Remember we were allowed to imagine the day and there were no limits. I have a very active imagination. :)

Marcey’s Ideal Day

Koolio is at my feet as I awaken to this glorious day. I have a few minutes before my alarm goes off so I snuggle in close to my honey and enjoy the protected feel of being in his arms. My alarm rings letting me know it’s time to get up and going. I grab a cup of coffee, my journal, and Koolio and we head out to the deck. As I am entertained by Koolio’s antics with our backyard wildlife, I journal about life and memories of my Hannah. I pull myself from my writings to get busy with the day at hand. Today I have a board meeting and we’ll award grants to families of children with epilepsy and autism as well as special needs teachers for much needed aids. Among those aids will be cooling vests, seizure sleep monitors, wireless video baby monitors, service dog supplies, adaptive equipment, and other misc. needs. Before that meeting I have a session with the neurological staff at a Children’s hospital to train them how to communicate best with the families of their patients. Besides the training I will ask for input on what parents can do to help their child’s neurological team treat them successfully. Eating lunch alone is not happening today. I get to meet a dear friend who inspires me every time we meet. Our lunch is no disappointment and I’m ready for my afternoon. I’m meeting with a new family. I always enjoy those first meetings and the relief I see on the faces of mothers when they realize I can offer them resources and direction. The best part of my day is getting to meet their fabulous kiddos and spending some time with them. After a full day I return home to spend the evening with my family. When everyone is winding down I go to my home office, climb on the window seat with my laptop and do some researching or writing while peeking at the star filled sky. As I retire for the night I think about how fortunate I am to be living this life. Hannah’s life continues to inspire people; I get to use my love for learning, teaching, and my first hand experience with special needs. I’m in awe of how God orchestrated it all and remember, Romans 8:28 and we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

In Memory

I joined the Idea-League when we learned about Dravet syndrome and began the journey to see if Hannah had it. She did. The Idea-Leauge puts out a newsletter and in the April issue they do a "In memory" feature on Hannah. Please read the newsletter and get involved in helping these families. It's an incredible organization and they are working on hard to help kids like our Hannah. Enjoy!

Cut and Paste this link in your browser to see the newsletter