Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Ride Continues

Looking back through this blog, it certainly contains an eclectic mix of thoughts. But that is probably also a fair representation of my rambling journey. The remodel and other extracurricular projects are occupying significant time and mind space. The humor, sarcastic though it may be, is once again gaining a foothold. The meltdowns are getting further apart but are still unpredictable. I've said that cancer is a roller coaster. So is grief. And I'm beginning to realize that grief is a ride which never ends. The bumps and twists just become smaller and less nauseating perhaps (hopefully). Here's a few of the recent bumps and twists in my ride.

I don't begrudge anyone a moment of happiness with their children. And generally I enjoy talking about other people's kids and celebrating their milestones. But the other night, my manager's wife (who also works for the company) was hosting a small gathering at their home. When their 3 beautiful kids came down to say goodnight, I noticed their 2 year old daughter was wearing jammies similar to what Lillian used to wear. I promptly lost it and couldn't seem to regain my composure. Ahhhhhh! I hate that!!!

So when the invitation was sent for 2nd annual family picnic at work, I immediately hesitated. On one hand, I feel like I should be there. It's during work hours and I am a member of this team. But on the other hand, I don't want go only to find myself turning into the ridiculous blubbering girl hiding in the corner. I have memories of many events before Lillian was born but there are a few that we only did with her. This family picnic one of those "Lillian events." When I think of the family picnic, I think of Lillian in the bouncy house. They are so intertwined that I can't imagine going without her. And honestly, I can't imagine watching the other happy families without feeling insanely jealous. So this will be the first event that I decline due to grief. It makes me feel weak and selfish. Can't I be happy for people without feeling sorry for myself?

On Sunday, we visited Lillian's grave site to deliver some pretty roses from our yard. I knew it was recently completed but seeing her nameplate added to the boulder brought an overwhelming sense of permanence. Someone left a little praying girl figurine and a tiny elephant figurine in front of her nameplate. Jeff arranged them by the vase and said it looked like they were having a tea party. How appropriate! Man I miss tea parties...and family picnics...and her unique little giggle...and, and, and...the list is endless.

My favorite roller coaster is Space Mountain at Disneyland. It's dark so you don't know where you're headed. The darkness makes a relatively tame ride more exciting. What I wouldn't give to see where this ride, called grief, is heading! If I could know when the bumps and twists are coming, I could brace myself. But I guess this is the perfect lesson in trusting God. He is with me always. Not to remove the bumps but to help me through them.


Anonymous August 14, 2007 at 2:40 PM  

It's been 18 months since my dad passed away, and when I actually realized that yesterday I was astounded. 18 months. It seems like forever, but sometimes it feels like just yesterday. It's hard to believe we have all gotten through the last 18 months without him. I find myself jealous of other people my age or older who still have their Dad's. I think it's not fair, but at the same time I want to grab them and tell them to treasure the time they do have with them, and that all too soon the unexpected can happen. A grim way to look at it, but in some way how can I not see it as that. My dad was at my wedding walking me down the aisle and a little over a month later went into the hospital with a mysterious blood clot in his arm, never got any better and passed away three months later. Cancer Sucks. It's hard to wrap your heart and mind around death. I marvel at your faith, your strength and openess to share with us. I think part of healing is talking about it, and thank you for giving us all this forum to connect and share about all things in life. Abra

Jennifer August 14, 2007 at 7:39 PM  

When I read these types of posts, I am left speechless...by your strength and transparancy and ESPECIALLY by God's grace that you allow to come streaming out of you.

Please know that we keep you, Jeff and Lillian close to our hearts. We work to not take our time with our family for granted and thank God for the family and friends He has blessed us with.

I'm here for you. When you need someone to yell at, a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen.

Anonymous August 14, 2007 at 7:41 PM  

dear dear lori...

i am so glad you wrote this. i have been wondering about this very thing and you. you do such a great job of pretending that everything is a-ok, that i actually believe it. even tho i have been there... i have been hurting so badly that i just wished i could die... but on the outside i didn't let it show. it took me a long time after my mom died to be able to be happy for someone else who fought cancer and was still alive. i STILL (20 years after my dad's death and 4 after my mom's) get so jealous of my friends who have their parents with them. but it is ok to feel that way... b/c it makes me human. you never ever stop hurting or longing for those who have gone before... but, like you said, the ride does get easier... less hills... less upside down spiral thingies. i equate grief with a boat ride on the ocean. mostly smooth sailing, but you never know when that storm is going to hit and turn your boat completely upside down. but, as time goes by, the storms become fewer and farther in between.

anyway, i am glad you wrote about it...and i hope you will continue to do so. and any time you want or need a shoulder or an ear... PICK ME, PICK ME!!!!! -Becci :)

Anonymous August 15, 2007 at 4:47 AM  

Lori, It breaks my heart that you are having to go through this. I marvel at your ability and strength to share what you are feeling. I also am so deeply grateful that you have wonderful friends and family that are equally able to express to you their love and support. I am so proud of you for the positive things you are doing and how you're helping others even as you are healing yourself. I really feel that you have great things ahead. I love you. --Mom

Lori August 15, 2007 at 3:28 PM  

I know this is coming across all wrong. I'm not jealous of other parents' happiness. It's not that I wish they DIDN'T have healthy kids. I just wish I did. You know? Maybe not. It's hard for me to understand let alone explain. Oh well, thanks from the bottom of my heart for your support...even when I'm all mixed up.

Anonymous August 15, 2007 at 4:33 PM  

i understood what you meant, lori... you are definitely not the type of person who can't feel happy for someone else... you are better than that. i just know that when you see someone else have what you want so desperately (what you once had, and loved, and is now blatantly missing)... you can't help but wish that it was you. i, personally, was jealous... and still am... of ppl who have what i don't have. but it's not in an "i wish you and i could trade places" type of way. i'm happy for people who have what i don't have... but, like you, i wish i, too, still had it. anyway, you express yourself VERY well... especially given the fact that sometimes when you are writing, you ar grieving so profoundly. when i was in the throws of grief after my mom died... all i could write was "this sucks, i hate this, this sucks" over and over and over again. so... i applaud YOU!! :) Even if your humor is sarcastic... tsk tsk!! ;) Becci :)

Anonymous August 15, 2007 at 8:34 PM  

Wow, your writing is so powerful for it come from your heart and soul. You put into words what needs to be said. And, you are kind enough to share it with all of us so we are brave enough to share the thoughts and feelings that dwell deep within us.
The last two years have been a struggle for me with severe family illnesses, the death of my mother, divorce in family, etc. I do not go to certain places or events that will cause me more grief for I take care of me now and will not go until ME says "you can handle it." I protect ME with a vengence and feel stronger because of it. I am constantly adjusting to life and it helps to know we are all in this together. Kathy

Blondie Newsom August 15, 2007 at 11:19 PM  

Hmm, I want to say something...you amaze me!!

I was just thinking about your blog and now Chelsea Rae's mom has a blog, both of you so together, so inspirational. I was thinking that I was pitiful to feel confused with emotion and scared about the future, posting on Grady' site my raw feelings, when I have no right to complain.
Thank you for sharing your own humanity, for grieving with us, and allowing us in on what must feel so private. I don't feel alone when I hear others have bursts of unexplainable pain and sorrow (please don't think I compare my grief to yours). What I am trying to say, and doing a poor job of it, is that your voice lifts me up, and I hope sharing does the same for you.

I know I have nothing to say that would heal you any quicker, but please know that I ask God to continue to hold you near. No one would ever judge you or question your chioce to decline a picnic, thank goodness your human, we can be friends :)

So, screw the comapny picnic...go get drunk! Okay, I confess, I was trying to make you laugh! But seriously, just do it...
AND...Yes, I know the Blonde song... very well I'm afraid...we used to love it! Talk about RAW emotion, man she is a true artists eh?

:) :) :)

Anonymous August 16, 2007 at 3:33 AM  

I could not sleep so I have spent a lot of time looking at Lillian's photos on my computer,so difficult to understand ,but I pray to her each day. She is smiling down at you and Jeff.She had a beautiful though very short life with both of you.
god bless

The Tucson Gang August 16, 2007 at 7:44 AM  

To be honest I've been struggling with what to say here...it has just makes me teary thinking about it all. It's taken me 2 days to have enough nerve to write something. The loss of your beautiful baby girl, trying to relate as a parent and sister to losing a child, and just plain ole' how to move through this process. I can not relate, only feel sad and grieve the loss of the vibrant, beautiful little girl we all loved. She will always be in our memories. I too stop at certain moments when I see other little girls and think, Lillian would be doing this or that at this age. It has especially been on my mind lately as I think, oh, Ryan has a birthday coming up...and so does Lillian.

I am so impressed by your strength and your writing makes me laugh and cry (such a hidden talent). You are amazing...and Lillian was lucky to have parents like you and Jeff - she was the light of your life. Your future children will be equally as blessed to have two such wonderful, loving parents. Ok, I'm blabbering on, not sure if any of this makes sense.

I'm hoping that the twists and turns come less frequently, but expect that there will be more ahead. And, forget about the picnic - as someone else mentioned - you need to take care of you....you are excellent at taking care of others, everyone else actually - just take this time for you, do what you feel comfortable doing...no need to worry about anyone else in this case! And, that's your BIG sister talking...Oooo, I don't like the way I wrote BIG sister, how about OLDER sister!!!

celestemc August 16, 2007 at 10:46 AM  

Oh Lori, you have no idea how much you have blessed me with this post. I tell you what, soon we will hook up... when I'm having one of those days where I want to get out but am fearful because of how easily things set me off. (I can't even go through the McDonalds drive through for their ice tea!). I find I want to rush the process - but know how absurd that is. Then there is guilt for being so selfish.

I love you and I love that God brought you to me!

celestemc August 16, 2007 at 10:53 AM  

I just read sweet blondie's comment, and just want to encourage you, oh blondie, not to downplay whay you are facing. It is hard, it is scary, and things will set you off. It doesn't have to end in physical death for it to be "worthy" of creating stress and emotions. We love you so much, and are so excited that Mr. G is doing so well! It gives us something to smile about and cheer for - and I think L would agree that we are blessed from that.

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