Friday, June 22, 2018

Heartache in many forms

There are so many different heartaches and they are different for everyone.  I have to admit that with all the heartaches I've experienced myself none have been worse nor will any other compare to the loss of my child, but that doesn't minimize others' heartaches.
I have a sweet friend that is going through a heartache of her own within her marriage and they may or may not make it, but it certainly is a painful process until a decision is made and my heart aches for her.  To add to the heartache she is losing her grandfather.  He is in hospice now and while he has lived a wonder 93 years it is never easy to let go even when you know it's best for them.
Today regardless what your heartache is try to find someone who you trust and lean on them.  You might not even need to say a word, just sit and listen and be still. 
I'm reminded that I'm not the only person hurting and living with my own heartache.  We all have a form of that and it is very real for each of us.
We are living with aging and declining parents and that in itself is a heartache.  Our children may be facing struggles or going through a journey that we know will make them better in the long run, but it is a heartache to watch them go through it.
I have another very close friend that is going through her own heartache with watching her husband suffer from terrible burns and the healing process.  Knowing there is very little to nothing we can do to help those we love who are hurting it very much a heartache.
Whatever your heartache is try to still find empathy for those around you as you may not be aware of their heartache and you may have to put yours on the back burner to do so, but you can do it. You never know how it may bless you and soften your heartache even for a brief moment.


My thoughts and prayers are with all those heartaches out there and hoping you find that person that can be your source of strength and comfort. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

A Mother's Broken Heart

One of my dearest friends lost her son (only child) Friday night.  I never wanted anyone to have to walk this journey ever again and now, sadly, someone I love so much is having to navigate through this heartbreak.


I was told once that you never know how strong you are until that is all you have.  It's true.  I know she is far stronger than she thinks, but there won't be a moment that she is breathing that she won't hurt over the loss of her precious baby boy.


It will never get easier, but like myself and others that have had to walk this journey, she will find a way to cope.


Please don't tell her that it will get better or easier.  That is a lie!  Don't tell her you know how she feels unless you have had to lay your child to rest.  You cannot know how she feels as there is no other feeling than the loss of your child. 


If you tell her you will be there for her whenever she needs you, then please be there.  If you cannot, then please do not tell her you will. 


There is no right or wrong way to grieve and especially grieving the loss of your child.  There will be no words for her to express what and how she is feeling. 


The best thing anyone can do is just be there and listen.  Don't avoid her and don't be afraid to bring up her son's name.  He is and always will be a huge part of her life and regardless of how much time passes after he has left this earth she will want to hear his name and talk about him. 


Love on your children every chance you get regardless their age, because we are not guaranteed tomorrow with them.


From one brokenhearted mom to another. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Thirty?

It's so hard for me to believe you would have been thirty years old this year.  I know I still have almost a full month for that date, but it's been on my mind since January.  There isn't a moment that goes by that I don't wonder what you would be doing now.  Would you have any babies?  Would you be the police officer you always wanted to be?  Would you live close enough for me to see you any time I wanted to or you needed me?  All those and many more questions run through my mind only when I'm breathing.


It's still very difficult for me to fathom the fact that you are not here.  I swear there are days I feel like I have to force myself to know how to take the first step of the day or face this world.  It seems like every day is a true effort.


Yes, I still feel very guilty when I laugh or am enjoying a moment.  I still find myself wanting to tell you something going on and to let you know how BoBo is doing or Peanut, Scooter, and Jorden are doing.  I want so badly to tell you any time one of your buddies gets married or has a baby so you can be excited right along with me.  Just getting a call to let me know how your day has been going feels so sad and that hasn't changed.


I'm doing better if the door bell rings, but I still hate it.  I pause every time I open the kitchen cabinet with your baseball helmet cereal bowl is sitting there or when I walk into your room and just see little things that I know you love so much.  That's also my quiet place at home when I feel I need to just sit in the quiet.  I know it sounds odd, but that is what it is for me right now.


I still struggle knowing it has been almost 7 1/2 years since you left this earth.  There are days it feels like yesterday and then there are days that it feels like forever since I've seen or talked to you.  It breaks my heart both way and every time I think about it.  I will never get over that feeling of utter sadness missing you.


I love you son more than words could ever express and I always will.  I will also always miss you and long for you to be with me again.  I feel this way especially the days I am not sure I can put one foot in front of the other. 


Love.,


Your momma bear






Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Happy Chad

It's not uncommon for random things to come up and take my breath away for a moment.  It could be a song or something someone says or even something I say that he used to say for me to be taken back from time to time.  Sometimes my response is laughter and others it could be a torrential down pouring of tears.


Well, our Sushi place is apparently no exception to this experience.  We were there a couple of Fridays ago and we were at our normal spot and enjoying dinner with our Sushi chef, Mandy.  She created a new roll called "The Happy Chad"!  What are the odds?  As soon as we heard the name I immediately broke down and cried.  I have no idea why, it was absolutely something that came over me and I could not shake it.  I cried all the way home and then cried myself to sleep that night. 
Tebo mentioned that he felt I may have a degree of depression.  I don't feel depressed.  I feel sadness, but I do not feel depressed.  Maybe I don't know depression or I expect it to feel a different way.  Either way it hit me like a tidal wave.


Maybe one day in the future those situations won't take me to that point, but for now that seems to be the norm.


I can see a young man in a military uniform and I am compelled to speak to him and have to fight the urge to hug him every time.  It's just something that takes me right back.


I was referring to Chad and Nanaw this morning on the phone with daddy and we were laughing because we were all the in car together and Nanaw climbed into the truck with us and Chad commented on how easy she got in and she immediately came back with, "well it's because I'm so agile".  Chad loved that response and it stuck with him for many years after that.  He would use that many times after that when he was talking to her.  It's those little memories that pop up out of no where that will sometimes just take my breath away and other times I just laugh and enjoy the memory.


Our hearts and minds are so complex.  I wish I could just stick with one emotion at times, but is apparent that I am incapable of doing that. 


I sure miss that young man of mine and some days it's more than I can take, but turns out I don't have a choice and I will continue to remember all the little things along with the big ones and laugh when I can and cry when I can't control it. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Organized Life

I had a friend ask me how I stay organized and things always seem clean and put together at our house.  I just explained that I cannot function in chaos and clutter and I can only relax when things are clean and are in order.  She then asked how she could get her life more organized where she could find time to clean her own house.  First she mentioned it would be impossible because she has kids.  I explained that it could be done, it will just take structure and getting used to keeping a routine for things.
So I thought it might be helpful for others to know how I do things and maybe they could take part or all of what I do and apply it to their lives if they are in search of how to get more organized and have less clutter.
It's true, I don't have kids living at home (well, just a 27 year old for now, but that will change soon) so I'm not spending my time cleaning up after children, but I still have my fair share of cleaning and organizing to do on a regular basis.  I did have my son as a single mom for 18 years and managed to always have a clean house and stay organized so it can be done.
First, if you are just starting on this journey of becoming more organized I would suggest making a list.  You might initially need some help to get things in your home organized and cleaned, but once you have the initial cleaning, purging, and organizing done the maintaining part will be a breeze (if you keep it up).
Start with a huge clean up through out your home.  Every room should be cleaned and everything needs to have a home.  If you cannot find a home for something evaluate whether you really need it and if you do, you may find something you have put away that you don't need and you could replace this item in that place and get rid of the one you don't really need.  I'm guilty of holding on to things far too long at times thinking I may need it one day.  I've since changed my thinking and if I haven't used or worn it in a year, it's time to purge it. 
Once the house is clean start in closets.  Something I have found that has made me feel like things are more organized is using all the same hangers in the closet.  I love it!  I would begin with purging clothes you haven't worn in a while and thin out your inventory.  Once you have done that organize your clothes that works for you.  What works best for me is color organizing.  I start with white and go to black.  I keep my pants the same order and dresses as well.  Then organize your shoes.  I have a new process for this now.  I used to keep all my shoes in the original shoe box, but my husband came home one day with clear plastic shoe boxes and while I was apprehensive at first, it has turned out to be the best thing!  I think organize my shoes by style and color.  It just looks so much better to me.
Once you have done your closet, make a list to do all closets in the house.  You will be amazed at how just that makes you feel more organized and will likely help you purge things you really do not need.  The next thing on your list should be cabinets and I would start in the kitchen area.  That seems to be where things get out of control the fastest in our house anyway. 
The key to this process is making a list and making your way through that list regardless what order you choose to go in.
Once these tasks have been completed you are more than halfway through.  The biggest key to keeping this organization and cleanliness is to maintain it everyday.  You may be thinking, there is no way I can do this everyday.  That's the beauty of this, you don't have to do everything mentioned above everyday.  If you maintain the day to day stuff the rest will remain until you get the itch to purge again.
Set a schedule for things like laundry, yard work/flower beds, etc.  Here is what a typical day for me looks like (again, no younger kids at home so things may look differently for those that do have kids at home).  Each morning as soon as I get up I make the bed.  Get ready for work and before leaving the house I gather any glass that was left from the night before and put them in the dishwasher.  I pick up any clothes that may have been left out from the night before and put them where they need to go and I ensure that all my bathroom items used to get ready are put away so all counter tops are clear of clutter and things are put away.  I go to work and once I return home at the end of the day and if we cook at home as soon as we finish eating I clean up the kitchen and make sure no dishes or pots are left out.  Each Sunday I do laundry.  Once they are completed in the washer I immediately put them in the dryer.  As soon as they dryer quits I immediately fold and put all clothes away.  If this is done as they are complete you will find that you don't get as behind and things are still clean and organized.  Saturdays are typically reserved for yard work/flower beds, errands, etc.  Depending on weather these days may swap or if I am out of town for any reason I will make adjustments, but for the most part I continue this process each day. 
Again, the key is maintaining day to day so that you do not get behind and make a list.  Once everything on your list is checked off you will love that feeling of accomplishment and then you can relax and enjoy it.
If you do have kids at home that are old enough to help, give them a list and teach them how to check their list off and they will hopefully grow up to be organized adults.  They will learn from you and take your lead so you have a chance to really enforce those habits early on.  You will not regret it.
Happy Organizing! 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Those days

You know those days when it feels like you are the only one in this world hurting?  Well, here goes my pity party.  For many months now I have felt exactly that way.  I know it is selfish and I will own that right now.  I hope I haven't let others know or see that side, but honestly I'm not sure it's possible to feel that way and others not see it in some form or fashion.
I have felt like some people I love with all my heart (not my husband) have put distance between us and that has bothered me to the point that I find myself consumed with that feeling and hurt.  That's on me.  I am one of the worse about keeping certain feelings buried inside and I do struggle (except here) letting my feelings known.  I need to do better at that, but I was like this as long as I have memory, however, I do believe it's been worse since I lost Chad. 
I am definitely a different person since losing him.  I don't think I would say I am a bad person, just different.  I do find that I pull away quicker from people/situations when I feel hurt, angry, or any emotion really.  I don't want to be that way, but it is just how I cope apparently.
I've had several very emotional days lately.  I guess it started before last Friday, but seems it's been worse since then. 
You might wonder why last Friday.  Well, last Friday Tebo and I attend the 7th annual AR Run for the Fallen at Chad's mile marker in Altus, AR.  It is the most amazing tribute to the 144 of Arkansas' fallen heroes.  Mine just happens to be one of the 144.  It breaks my heart even typing that, but that's the truth.
Anyway, I held myself together while we were there and I usually have a little weepy moment while we make the 1 1/2 to 2 hour drive back to N.W. AR, but for the most part I can hold it together.  Well, this weekend was, for whatever reason, an exception to that statement.  I can't justify the crazy it feels when it hit, because it was so trivial that I probably shouldn't even share, but there may be another parent out there that has had the same thing happen and if not, you just get a free laugh at my expense and I'm ok with that.  So here goes.  Saturday I had a list of things I wanted to get done around the house while Tebo and Tia were working in the backyard.  My list was simple, normal cleaning downstairs, catch up on filing and organizing the office, do the floors downstairs and strip the sheets off Chad's bed in the event someone unexpected needed a place to sleep the sheets would be clean.  Ok, so far so good, right.  Well, yes, so far.  Chad's room has really been one of the last rooms we have completely put together since moving into this house.  It had eventually gotten somewhat put together, but not completely.  No, it didn't really matter and it was no big deal, just hadn't been completed.  Well, a dear friend of mine had her mother (and she helped) make me a quilt out of Chad's old baseball uniform t-shirts with TN orange and white on the back.  I had just laid it over his bed (although it really doesn't fit for that).  I had not gotten bedding for his bed yet as we had been using the Murphy Bed, but decided after this move we would not use it as it didn't weather the move very well this time.  We had gotten a platform bed frame and I just did that for the time being.  So I go through the day and get all my list done and had decided while Chad's sheets dried I would go out and help Tebo and Tia.  Once we were done in the yard another friend of ours came by, Tebo had grilled and we were eating dinner.  I went in to get the dried sheets out and started making his bed and as I was laying the quilt on the bed I just fell apart.  I have no idea why, but I could not control it.  The friend of ours came in and yelled from downstairs, bye mom (inside joke) see ya later.  I respond back that I would see him later and I could not control or stop the tears.  I went downstairs to get a glass of wine and was planning to just take a minute when I meet Tebo and the tears flowed even more.   I said I just need a minute, got my glass of wine and went back to Chad's room and just sat in the chair in the quiet.  Once I could finally compose myself I went outside and Tebo asked if I was ok and I said, yes, I just have to get new bedding for his room and get that room pulled together.  Of course without hesitation he said ok.  We did just that the very next day.  We still have a few things to finish it up, but it feels much more put together.  I don't know why that bothered me so badly, but apparently his room needs to be done.  I know he will never see or be in that room, it just didn't seem to matter at that moment. 
there have been a ton of things over the last year that have just been building and compiling in my life as it is in most people's lives.  I'm sure most people handle all these things far better than myself and I can own that.  I just do not know how to stop this vicious cycle. 
the hurt and sadness I feel isn't something that I can fix or will go away where it pertains to Chad, but the others that have put me in this place could make it better in that respect, but what do you do when the other person is so prideful and has a difficult time apologizing?  Nothing!  You just wait for them to finally be in a place to move forward and sadly the "I'm sorry" may never come so you might as well prepare yourself for that.  I have.  What I have a hard time with is the distance and the silence. 
I know you can't fix other people.  I also know I can't control others, I can only control myself and how I react/respond.  However, if the other person never gives me a chance to react or respond I guess that's another way, but that way sucks to be quite frank. 
I will likely do like I always do.  I will eventually feel I can confront this person and give him/her a chance to explain and while I have no expectations of receiving an apology, maybe things can go back to normal.  If not, it won't be the first time (and apparently not the last) that I have had to learn a new normal. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

What's the word?

If you have never lost a child you won't actually be able to help me with this question.  You would have to experience this kind of loss and pain to even grasp what this feels like.  There are events that pop up every year and often in the year that just brings everything flooding back.  It doesn't have to be big events and it doesn't even have to be events.  It could be a song, a commercial, someone else's pain, really anything can trigger it.


This week has been one of those weeks that I find it hard to breathe and even harder to just have to be around people and fake happiness in general.  I don't know why exactly, but I know it is hard to find the word that would describe the type and depth of sadness in my heart.  Friday this week Tebo and I will drive to a mile marker in Altus, AR to the Altus Court House to be there when runners run a mile in honor of Chad.  He is number 7 out of 144 Fallen Heroes that will be honored that day.  All of these Heroes are from Arkansas.  It is so sad and surreal when you look at the numbers like that.  144 young men/women who gave their lives fighting for our country just in the state of Arkansas.  Just breaks my heart.  Just in the state of Arkansas there are 144 moms and dads that feel this type of pain and sadness.  If I had to guess I would imagine that they too cannot find the word to describe this sadness.


I have thought about Tebo's mom a lot this week as she has been sick.  We were very worried that she might not make it.  While she was kind of out of it if you will she was talking to family members that had passed on before her.  One of the saddest ones was her oldest son.  She saw him twice and thought he was coming to get her in 4 days.  I literally could not hold back the tears.  As a mom, I completely get it.  Even when she didn't know what she was saying or probably even where she was she was longing for her son.   She lived 87 years (at the time) and had to lay to rest her first born.  She has, now at 88 years old, out lived one of her children.  How terribly sad is it that she would out live a child.  That's not how this is supposed to work.  We are supposed to bury out parents and grandparents, but not our children. 


It would be hard for someone that has not lost a child to truly grasp this next statement and before I even type it I would like to make it perfectly clear.  I am not suicidal and I never have been and don't expect I ever will be.  However, there are days that I pray that the Lord would just make it so my heart would just stop beating so I can see my son again.  I won't lie, I have said this prayer many times and I imagine as long as I am on this earth I will continue to pray that prayer.  It's not that I want to leave my husband and family and friends, it is only because I long for my son in such a way that I cannot find the words to express it.  The only thing that would make this feeling go away is for him to be in front of me so I can hug him and kiss his forehead again and tell him how much I love him and just watch him sleep in that crazy position one more time.  


There is a song "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away".  That has never had so much meaning in my entire life than it has since 12-1-10.  I would go every day if I could so just love on him and see how he was.  He wasn't a huge talker so I know there wouldn't be a lot of words exchanged (we never needed that), but there would be hugs and just time spent together that I cherish so much.


It doesn't matter how a child dies or when, it is the same kind of pain and I would bet that all parents have a difficult time expressing how that feels.  It just is and there is nothing that will take that pain away.


Oh, and NO, it does not get better or easier to not have your child.  It never will.  We might find better ways of coping, yes, but go away or become easier, absolutely NOT!


If you have been blessed enough to have never had to bury your child I would encourage you to take a moment and not only be thankful, but let that child regardless of age that you love them and when you can, give them a hug that lets them know you never want to let them go.  You are not guaranteed tomorrow (none of us are), so make the most of that time you have while you have it. 


Chad, this is specifically for you (even though I realize you cannot read this).  You were always the best thing I have did and I love you more than anything or anyone in this world and I always will.   You were a blessing I was never supposed to have and you truly made my world a beautiful place until the day you left.  I truly never believed I could love the way I loved you, but I did and I still do.  Nothing will ever change that and I long for the day I can wrap my arms around you and kiss your forehead.  Love you more than you could ever know, Momma Bear. 


Just at BoBo & Nana's house (picture courtesy of Stacy Croft)
You know, just at home showing mommy how to cook.

His mean football face.

At his last Croft reunion in one of his favorite shirts


 
Senior picture (picture by Stacy Gough @ Phorever Studios)



Home on leave in another favorite shirts
 
Right before leaving for Boot Camp in Kansas City, MO (2007)
 
From his wedding (9-18-2009)