Thanks for stopping by...
I'm not sure how you have happened upon my blog but I’m glad you did. I began blogging several years ago, although initially it was a private journal I kept just for myself. In time, however, I began to share my blog publicly, and now I have quite a few folks who check in with regularity. Perhaps you’ll become one of them!
So who am I? Well I have to tell you, I still haven’t quite figured that out. But I keep working on it. I just passed the half-century mark, and I'm hoping that I'll figure out just who I am someday soon. Maybe by the time I'm sixty?
I’ve had some...um...pretty incredible life experiences at both ends of the spectrum, and I share a lot here--maybe too much sometimes. But I’m having a good time, so what the heck. And the focus of my blog for the coming months will be recording the details of the trip of a lifetime (for me anywy): a thru-hike of the 2,187-mile Appalachian Trail. Check in and if my adventures intrigue you, stick around.
I hope you enjoy! I give you my regards and wish you…
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
I feel Ethan around me. I know it sounds crazy, but I do. There have been things that have happened that seem beyond coincidence, and I find myself believing that he is telling me that he is well and at peace. I have never been a believer in mystical things, but I am beginning to change my mind. Is it desperation? A refusal to believe that Ethan and Aiden are gone to me forever? Maybe so. I simply don't know. All I know is that I will not force anything, but will open my heart to the possibility. I have even begun to attend church with my daughter and a couple of my friends. (Of course, I cried the entire time, both times, but it's a start.) Maybe rationality and science do not preclude mysticism. I just don't know...
Today I intend to attempt some housework (oh joy), a walk with a friend, and to find a place where I can do Zumba. And I hope to do something creative. And reach out to at least two friends. Small steps. I can do this.
Monday, December 9, 2013
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Naturally, the decorating is somewhat difficult because there are reminders everywhere of Ethan. But at the same time, those memories are sweet even while they are painful. Ethan is the one who gave me all of my very favorite nutcrackers, the collectible handmade (read "expensive") ones. His daddy helped him, of course, and Pat and I shared those memories of Ethan together as I arranged my collection this morning.
We had a freeze last night, so some of the tropical plants had to be brought inside. Misty "helped" us by aerating the soil. Such a thoughtful cat.
I hope you and yours have a wonderful weekend filled with love and laughter.
Friday, December 6, 2013
I'm sorry to do this so publicly but I have no other options.
Sweetheart, I know you've never met me and so don't know the sort of person I am, but I promise you, I am a very kind and loving person. Sometimes I confess that I talk a little too much and laugh a little too loud. Sometimes my sense of humor is borderline raunchy. But all-in-all, I am a good and extremely loving person. And I have a lot of love to give not only to Lyla when she comes, but to Candyce and you too! You three are a package deal and I want to lavish all three of you with love and affection!
I know this is hard. You lost your fiance and father of your child. I lost my son. But that doesn't mean our relationship has to be based on sorrow. Yes, we are both in mourning, but there is still much to be celebrated in life, and that is what the focus of our relationship should be about. We can look for the joys of life together. I can help you. I have learned so much in these past months, and I want to share it with you.
Sweetheart. I won't overwhelm you. We'll take it slow. But please do not shut me out. Lyla is a living, breathing link to my son and I will be devastated if you chose to keep me from her. Try to put yourself in my shoes. I have suffered so much loss lately, as you have; let's not make things even worse. Let's pull together for one another. I am inviting you to be part of my family, even though Ethan is no longer here. I will treat you as a daughter, and I promise that I will be a positive in your life as well as Lyla's and Candyce's. Lyla and Candyce need a granny with a yellow motorcycle with pink flowers. They'll one day need to learn to head into the mountains to find themselves. They need a prankster Nana that laughs too loud and sings off-key. Let me be there for those little girls and for you. Please.
Just give me a weekend. Meet me. Talk to me. Then decide. But please, please, please do not shut me out. I beg of you.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
I played tennis today and it felt very, very wrong. I thought of Ethan the whole time, and it felt like a betrayal to be playing a game so soon. It felt wrong to play bridge with my in-laws, too...like I shouldn't be playing a game and enjoying myself. But I know in my intellectual mind that it is okay and even desirable to take such steps, so I am proceeding even though I find it uncomfortable. This is so strange to me. Nothing feels quite right...nothing. I miss my son and I still find it hard to believe that I will never see him again. It feels so surreal. I'm home, but nothing feels the same anymore. I'm certainly not the same.
This is going to take a very long time. Very long.
I'm so sorry Ethan. How I wish you were here.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
At any rate, I bought a lot more clothes than I'd realized. We had an outing to Target every week, so I have a whole new Target-based wardrobe, from underwear and socks to boots, shoes, and hats. We also occasionally went to a darling little boutique, where I bough some precious outfits for myself and for Lyla, and some fun girly gifts for Rhiannon. And occasionally we forayed to Hobby Lobby, where I purchased some art supplies. Hence, when it was time for me to head home, I went from one suitcase to four very large suitcases, plus I shipped at least five boxes of assorted stuff home. I guess I went a little crazy with the shopping, but I have some cute new clothes, a great Bose radio system, lots of therapeutic books, and a great selection of art supplies.Happily, I managed to break my barrier when it comes to creating art. I drew a picture that I kind of like, and I painted a couple of pictures too. I'll show them to you when I get home. They're certainly nothing special, but the point is, I did them. I haven't done easel art since Aiden's death. I managed to tear down that barrier at Brookhaven, and I intend to stay with my art hereafter. Aiden would want that for his Nana. I'm not especially talented, but I enjoy it, and that's what's most important.
Pat and Rhiannon participated in a ceremony that the residents and staff have for departing Brookhaven residents. It was what we call a "coin-out" ceremony wherein a special coin, with a rose on one side and the serenity prayer on the other, is passed around and those present share a memory or thought about me and my recovery. Afterward they rub their well-wishes for me into the coin and pass it on to the next person.. Both Rhiannon and Pat cried and expressed their pride in me, and a good many of the people present in the room were crying too. I was very moved. I was a well-liked, even loved, member of the Brookhaven community. And I love that community as well. They helped me through some of the darkest days of my life, they restored me to sanity, and they gave me hope for the future.
When I went to Brookhaven I didn't want to live anymore. I'd have killed myself if I could have, but I swore to myself and my family that I wouldn't, because I knew the devastation that suicide leaves behind. Still, I prayed to contract a fatal illness or be hit by a car or struck by some swift tragedy that would end my pain. I'd had enough of life. I genuinely didn't want it anymore. My grandson was gone. My son was gone. I felt I had nothing left to live for, because my surviving children are adults and no longer need me to mother them, and Pat and I were struggling in our marriage. I wanted to throw in the towel.
I am happy to report that I no longer feel so. I have hope. My heart is no less broken, and I still cry for my lost loved ones every single day, but I have learned to accept the loss and recognize that I must go on--I WANT to go on--and life still has much beauty about it even without my lost boys. I will live fully, to honor them. As I lived to champion Safe Sleep for Aiden, I will now be championing the fight against suicide in the military. I have plans that I will share with you soon, but my life does have meaning and purpose. And though my children are grown, they still need my love and influence. And Pat and I have made a vow to repair our relationship. We've both made terrible decisions, but we will not let Ethan's death mean the demise of our marriage; rather, we have vowed to fight to remain together and improve our relationship, whatever it takes.
Pat, Rhiannon and I got home late Wednesday night, and we immediately went to bed. The next morning, Thanksgiving Day, we loaded up the car and all five of us, along with Tony (my daughter's ex-husband and best friend, and son of my heart), headed to Houston, where we now are. Thanksgiving Day's meal was burgers and chips, but Friday the extended family came over to Lee and Dana's house and we had our Thanksgiving then. The family did it for me, so that I could be part of Thanksgiving this year. It was strange for me, because with very few exceptions, I have been hosting Thanksgiving for 25 years or more. I got to take the year off this time and enjoy being a guest, and instead I will host Christmas next month.
It's hard, I must say. Everywhere I look are reminders of my son and grandson. And I have so many good memories of times spent here with all of the children together, so it makes me sad to feel Ethan's absence. But the good memories are what I need to cling to, so I'll shed the tears as I need to and remember the past with love to the best of my ability.
Pat and I have been enjoying hour after hour of bridge with Lee and Dana while our children are at the Renaissance Festival. I ran two miles with Tessa, then three more with Indy. I feel strong and fit and hopeful for the future. It's time for me to jump back into the land of the living.
I hope you all had a joyful Thanksgiving, and that the upcoming Christmas season is filled with love and happiness. I'll be sharing what I've learned with you in my upcoming posts, but in the meantime just know that I'm alive and well and moving forward.
Monday, November 11, 2013
I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disssorder (which I already knew), and PTSD (which I'd long since suspected...thanks, Dad.) My medications have been changed. And I have changed my lifestyle. After 38 years of smoking I have finally given it up (last cigarette was two months ago),and there will be no turning back. After 37 years of both problematic and then alcoholic drinking, I have admitted to myself, my family, my friends here at Brookhaven, and now the world that I am an alcoholic in recovery. I have learned that it's okay to show the chinks in my armor. I am beautiful inside and out, warts and all, and if I reveal my struggles to my family and friends, they will still love me for who I am, not judge me for what I have done to cope with those struggles. And if any of them do judge me, I do not need them in my life, because they really are not my true friends or a positive support system. I am me and I am good enough. I am a work in progress.
I have accepted both Ethan's and Aiden's deaths. I still struggle, I still cry, I still feel strong grief, but I am no longer utterly paralyzed with that grief. I know how to grieve healthfully and them put my grief away to focus on living.
I will always struggle because of my illnesses, but I accept the struggle and I will use the tools I have learned here to deal with issues in a healthy way when they arise. And I will do what is best for me, not the rest of the world. I am my own top priority.
Thank you for supporting me! I know I have a lot of readers who genuinely care about my well-being and I am grateful.
I am ready to take life by the horns again. I am ready to live.
Happy trails, everyone!
Tami aka Sunshine
Thursday, November 7, 2013
I just wanted to take a moment to check in and let you know that I'm still alive and kickin'. I have been at Brookhaven for over 2 months and I am learning SOOOOOOOO much! I'll try filling you in on that soon, but just know that I'm feeling better and better every day.
My days are filled with classes and therapy, to the point that I have little time for anything else. My focus is wholly on myself and my recovery, so I am unable to write to you personally. But I have received many letters from some of my friends at home, and I can't tell you what it means to me to receive a card or a letter. It really brightens my day, and I hang the cards on my wall next to my bed so that the lovely pictures, inspirational quotes, and loving words sustain me.
For those who don't know, my address at Brookhaven is 10116 I.C. King Road; Seymour, TN 37865. I'd love to hear from you, but please understand that at this time, due to my demanding schedule here, I will likely be unable to respond to you for a while.
I am happy to report that I will be heading home, with a new outlook on life, on November 28. And I will try to spend some time updating you regarding my status this weekend. There is too much to tell in a single entry and my computer privileges are limited, but I will begin to share with you as I am able. Just know that I am dealing with my grief, as well as a whole lot more, and my future looks promising.
Tami aka Sunshine