Car Rides

This one actually isn’t a sad post. This is a post about car rides. Not super long car rides but car rides from Tulsa to OKC and back. Both of our kids tend to keep quiet about themselves but, you get them in the car and they come to life.

Our orthodontist, Dr. Geoff Sparks of Orthodontic Associates, has treated both kids and myself in braces. He started Zach when he was in first grade and Sarah this year. Since we have lived in Tulsa the last three years, we have had lots of drives down the turnpike.

Some of my fav memories of Zachary are simply talking in the car and singing together. I think it’s the fact that you are not face to face that makes it easier for them to talk. Zach would take his earbuds out after just a bit and let loose.

I heard that kid rap entire songs, including Eminem’s “Rap God”, Nicki Minaj’s “Starship”, Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”, etc. The kid had a knack for memorizing songs. We would also sing together and have the best conversations. If any of you ever had the chance to hear him sing, it was as if the Heavens has opened up and angels were singing. I miss my car time with him.

The last two trips with Sarah to the orthodontist however; she has really taken to opening up finally. We sing Harry Styles, we talk about boys, school, life lessons, etc. This doesn’t happen if we are face to face. She is really starting to become her own person. I think I truly enjoy the teenage years the most.

That is not to say that they are the easiest years. They are years full of anxiety, worry, emotions, hormones, etc. but, if you just slow down, have some one on one (not face to face) time, you really get to hear and find out who your teenagers are. They are amazing kids with their own diverse opinions on the world, politics, people, etc.

I am so thankful for my husband that he is able to provide for our family so I was able to stay home for all of Zachary’s teenage years and Sarah’s coming up. I am so thankful for all those rode trips with the boy, and now the girl. I am so thankful that we had all that silly time in the car to just be playful Mom and teenager. To rock out, dance, sing, talk with your teenager is one of the best things you can do.

I guess the point of this post is just to give advice to other parents. Don’t waste your time in the car with your kids. Take advantage of that one on one time and take it all in. Let them talk. Let them be silly. Stay off the phone calls and just relax with your kids. Enjoy that time because you never know when it could be the last.

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Hey jealousy.

It’s Thanksgiving Day. I woke up before everyone like normal and got the coffee going, made cinnamon rolls and burnt the bottom as usual, etc. I got the day started. Jonathan and Sarah woke up and ate breakfast while late lunch finished cooking.

We ate lunch just fine. It was a little hard not hearing Zachary’s voice say he and Sarah’s traditional prayer so Jonathan and I said it with her. We ate at the table, just the three of us. I don’t know how long it had been since we had done that at home. It was nice but lonely to see the empty chair.

We did not set an empty place setting or have his picture on the table. That would have been too hard on our family. We did light a candle at midnight last night and will leave it burning the full 24hrs of the holiday. We also fed his spirit a little Waldorf which was one of his favorite things and a roll. I learned this custom from my friend Dusty who was one of Zach’s paramedics but now, she is my friend. The tradition of breaking the wishbone is done/finished in our family. Sarah and Zach did this every year and Sarah did not want to do it with me and that is fine as well. We all handle grief in our own way.

(The wishbone split right down the middle this year.)

I took an awesome nap and hopped on my phone. That’s when it hit. Jealousy. It’s a normal grief reaction but, one most people don’t think about. It’s jealousy of seeing brothers and sisters together knowing Sarah will never get that again. Jealousy of seeing Moms with their sons and Dads with their sons. Jealousy of seeing happy four member families, one boy, one girl, smiling their faces off. I worry we will never truly be happy in a pic again. I feel like there will always be this mask on all of our faces hiding how we truly feel.

It’s not the other people’s fault. They are doing nothing wrong. It’s just grief rearing it’s ugly head. I do not begrudge these families at all. I wish that was us still. I would give anything to go back to that. Literally anything but, I know we can’t. It is the three of us and Zachary’s spirit now that keeps us going. It’s knowing that one day, I will see him again in Heaven. Till then, we try to live as happy as we can in his memory. Jealousy and all.

#suddencardiacarrest #cardiacarrhythmia #suddendeath #grief #grieving #mourn #mourning #childloss #lossofchild #mamabear #compassionatefriends #imwithyoumommy #lgbt #RSU #RogersStateUniversity #ForeverAHillcat #OKEQ

One year later 

Well today is the day. It’s been one year since I last texted the boy. I asked him if he wanted to come early from college for the weekend and he wanted to stay. Our last text was at 3:08 pm. If you read the below messages, parents, make sure your kids know you love them and you support them NO MATTER WHAT!!!  No matter your religious beliefs if they are LGBT+, love your children…PERIOD.  
We take comfort in knowing that no matter what, Zachary knew we had his back and most of all, he was loved beyond all measure.  He was loved his entire life and never knew a time of rejection from his family.  How comforting as parents to rest knowing your kid knew he was loved.

As the house is quiet and I’m drinking my coffee, I look back and know I would not exchange one ounce of this pain to not have had him. Being his Mom for 18 years was one of the best privileges in my entire life. He taught me to be a Mom before we had Sarah. He taught me so much that I could use the dictionary and type most of it here but I won’t. What a privilege to have loved something so pure and sweet!  He was no perfect child but he was ours and we miss him so.

We started the day watching a police chase. It was a good two hours of completely mind-numbing television on the iPhone. After getting ready, Jonathan went and aired up all the balloons for the balloon release. We had so many messages we had to double some up. Cedrick, Zachary’s boyfriend when he passed, came over and Zach’s best friend here Nikolai with his girlfriend came over to help. It was good for Sarah to have them around. We said a prayer and let the balloons go.

After this, we ate lunch and headed to Rogers State to tie balloons on his Memorial Bench. We met some of the staff there. They had left a sign and some pics out by the bench. It was nice to see Zachary was remembered.

When we got home, I cooked one of Zach’s meals he loved and we all just watched some movies and took it low key. Cedrick spent the night so it was nice to have him in the house with us. I also had lit a memorial candle which burnt the full 24hrs on the 10th.

Cedrick went home later in the next day. That is when I fell apart. It was the first time we had been alone and it happened. I just lost it. The ugly, crying, sobbing tears. I knew I had to let it out though or I would end up in hives. There is nothing wrong with the sobbing. It is therapeutic as you can’t hold all those emotions in.

I had plans to go deeper into the emotional part of the actual day of but I can’t yet. I can’t share the details yet. Maybe one day I will. Who knows. For now, we made it through the one year mark.

#suddencardiacarrest #cardiacarrhythmia #suddendeath #grief #grieving #mourn #mourning #childloss #lossofchild #mamabear #compassionatefriends #imwithyoumommy #lgbt #RSU #RogersStateUniversity #ForeverAHillcat

Hell week continued….

#4:  Jonathan forced me to wake up this morning. I would have been perfectly happy all day staying in bed and stealing the covers.  

 Apparently I’ve woken up combative today. I’ve taken things other people have posted on FB and taken it personally. I need to “chill out” or it’s going to be a looooong day of fight mode and I’m too exhausted for that.  I decided to channel some energy into mopping, vacuuming the stairs, etc. Sarah has counseling at 4:00 pm so I have to shower. 

After showering, I heard this song on Zachary’s “thumbprint playlist”. He had liked it sometime ago but I couldn’t help but to think of the boy. It basically says “Rejoice, though everything stinks and you will die someday.” It’s just so hard to rejoice over anything. 

Sarah is back in counseling and I’m waiting. The drive home took forever and as a result I’m anxious and not here. Goodnight blog. 

#3:  I actually woke up not dreading the day which is a miracle. It helps I’m being preventative and taking my medication like I am supposed to this week. Jonathan got off to work. I listened to boy songs while I got ready and went to volunteer. While I’m at the front desk, I can’t help but go back and look at texts between the boy and I. Today a year ago was such an anxiety day for him after the election. 

I had four people stop into the center just to come in and say hi and give me hugs as they know what Friday is. A few tears were shed and that’s okay. There is nothing with crying in public. I came home, cooked dinner and slept. My body has slept hard all week for three hours at night. I mean hard there is no waking me hard. Oh well, I did manage to eat one-quarter of a pumpkin pie by myself. No shame in my eating game this week. No tears tonight but I’m sure by tomorrow some will come. 

#2:  Jonathan is off work today. It’s been an okay day. I mopped the floor so I didn’t have to really think. It was a mindless activity. Jonathan has played Xbox most of the day. Sarah had been at school. She gets home soon. We are supposed to go to her softball banquet tonight but I don’t know how she will feel about going. 

Today is the last day I ever heard Zachary’s voice on the phone. I had called him randomly and he actually answered his phone. We had texted during the day and he was struggling with anxiety today due to the election results. I just wanted to talk to him and tell him everything was going to be okay. We talked for about 20 minutes. I got him to calm down. He was upset over something someone posted on FB so I told him to just get off FB for awhile and enjoy his night. He did. He actually listened to me.  He took his anxiety medicine, got off FB and enjoyed his night and next day. 

We went to Sarah’s Softball banquet and had a good time. We felt it was important to make her go. I did great till they played a sad song at the end showing the Seniors pics. I excused myself to the restroom to let some tears out and came back when it was over. I didn’t want to hold it in and break out in hives for a second time today. When we got home, I let some more tears out and cut messages for Zachary’s balloon Release tomorrow.  I always tried to remember to tell him “Goodnight Buddy” at night so he went to bed remembering someone loved him. 

I’m off to cut more messages and get ready (or as ready as I can be) for tomorrow. We are doing a balloon Release and then heading out to Claremore to tie balloons on his Memorial Bench on campus. 

Till tomorrow.  It’s getting its own blog. 

Hell Week for a grieving Mom

Forgive any spelling or grammatical errors, my hands don’t always want to work correctly. 

Well, here we are. One week before the one year anniversary of Zachary moving onto Heaven before us.  Unless you have been a loss parent, you cannot even imagine to believe the hell it is to live after the loss of a child.  You have no clue how it is to wake up every day and have to remember that your child died.  You have to make it through the day with the “mask” on so you don’t get asked all day what is wrong. All you honestly want to reply is “what the hell do you think is wrong” but, that gets frowned upon. No matter what the situation is, we are expected to still move through life. We have no choice. So I thought I would just write a weeklong post about the week before and title it “Hell Week.” 
#8:  Yesterday was technically eight days before but, it should be written about. I forgot to take my medication before I left the house. This is my regular medication, not my emergency medication. I ended up starting a meltdown at Target and my body went into “fight or flight” mode. I could literally feel my heart beating out of my chest and my body was ready to just run away.  I was able to bring myself back together to make it home. When I got home, I burnt some incense, put on some Tranquility oil and took both my emergency medicine and my regular medicine. In the meantime, my body decided to bring back the hives. That’s the thing with holding emotions in. I hive it up. 

I took a shower, got ready and went and worked the event at the OKEQ that I was expected at. I did it.  I pulled myself together and participated in a task. It felt great.  I came home to an unhappy household as everyone wanted me home. 

#7: So this day has suckdideeluicked. I woke up okay, Jonathan left for work, I showered and fell apart at home alone. I’m talking the ugly wailing bawl that I truly believe anyone who has been around a Loss Mom can recognize. There is a longing to it that is so ultimately pathetic sounding but, I had to let it out. I got ready and went to lunch with Jonathan. We ate lunch and by the time my medication kicked in, I laid down on his couch and slept for two hours. I woke up and had to hurry home to be a Mom to Sarah. We went to get her hair cut and buy some product. 

When we got home, I was too exhausted to cook dinner so we ordered fast food and it was movie night. We’ve been watching movies as a family together as it’s an escape from what we are facing. 

#6:  It’s bedlam day. We used to have parties with neighbors when the kids were little. I miss those distractions today. It’s been a fine day. It’s been foggy which always affects my mood. It made me sad and groggy. I did manage a small trip to the store today which was a miracle. 

We watched the football game off and on. Jonathan has been a little short but has been quick to apologize. Sarah has spent all day upstairs. 

After dinner, I had an epic meltdown so I had to take the second half of my emergency medication. The meltdown led to me in the fetal position on the bed clinging to Zachary’s favorite shirt. When it gets warm, it still smells of him…..still.  I know it’s disgusting but I refuse to wash it. I also refuse to wash the laundry bin from his dorm room. I can’t bring myself to wash some of him away yet. I’m sure I’ll pass out soon which is why I don’t like taking medication. I am slathered in Stress Away oil hoping to keep the hives at bay. 

#5:  This day a year ago, we had the best day with the boy as a family. 

We went to Gamestop, ate dinner, went to a movie. There was no fighting about how he had started “No Shave November” in October or how his hair was 8″ long in some spots. It was just a great fantastic day that I will always have fond memories of. 

I ended my night in tears.  Okay let’s be honest. I cried off and on all day. 

#6:  Sunday came and the boy left to go back to college. He came up behind me and gave me the best hug before he left. That was Zach. He gave the best hugs.  He hugged you like it was literally going to be the last hug he ever gave you. I wish I had known as I wouldn’t have let him go. 

Back to college he went.  He claimed he had done his laundry on campus, I still doubt this as I have a hamper full of stinky boy clothes. I never knew I would cling to that smell. The smell of sunshine on your kids head and clothes. 

Today for me has just been terrible. I still have the hives on my chest. My heart literally aches. I’m taking anxiety medication and my emergency medication and the tears still flow if I think about the big longer than a few seconds. I started thinking about how today was the last day a year ago I got to physically touch him. I have cried tonight when Jonathan got home from work. We are watching a movie now and all I want to do is sleep. I’m an awful Mom today as I’ve been okay with Sarah just disappearing upstairs and doing her own thing just so I don’t have to deal. That’s a terrible Mom move right there. 

I did manage to cook a good dinner which everyone ate seconds of so bonus for that.  After dinner, I slept because if I sleep at least I’m not crying. While i slept, Jonathan was sweet and got up and swept the entire downstairs hardwood floor for me. I love that husband of mine. 

Here are our texts from Nov 6, 2016. Just normal conversation with the boy. I miss him dearly. 

It’s just the little every day things. The little “Hi Mommy”s that I miss the most. 
Since this is such a long post, it will be continued tomorrow. 
#suddencardiacarrest #cardiacarrhythmia #suddendeath #grief #grieving #mourn #mourning #childloss #lossofchild #mamabear #compassionatefriends #imwithyoumommy #lgbt #foreverahillcat