Tuesday, July 29, 2008

This Post's For Me

How do you transition from a post about "Mamma Mia" to a post about grief? Not gracefully, that's for sure. I hesitated to write about this at all but then remembered that this blog is about me and for me. Yes I tap dance like a trained chimp just to entertain you at times. But then something happens and the sadness crashes over me like a wave. That's when I just have to get it out there. Even if it's just for me. So here goes.

Sometimes little things remind me of my sweet girl and make me smile. Other times they make me cry. Often these little things come in rapid succession and morph into one very big thing. I'm at the tail end of one of those times. I hope.
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We took Ian to the play class at Gymboree for the first time a couple of weeks ago. As I pulled off three name tags adorned with that loveable clown, I started to write Lillian's name. I had barely gotten the down stroke of the L before I realized my error. Sucking the air through my teeth, I finished the name tag with an A and an N for Lillian's little brother. The class opened with everyone introducing their child. Easy enough. Then the teacher asked us if we had been to Gymboree before. "This is Ian's first class but we have been here with our daughter," I responded. No big deal. Later in the class the teacher dropped by and asked how old our daughter was. Again, the wind was knocked out of me as I quickly muttered that she passed away last year. Ugh.
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Fast forward a few nights and Ian was a very cranky boy. His acid reflux continues to plague him. The acid blocker he is on typically does the trick. But our big boy has a tendency to out grow his dosage before his next doctor's appointment. So every few months, he gets atypically cranky and we know it's time to up the dosage. This was one of those times. Unfortunately it takes about 24 hours to really kick in. We tried everything but he would not be consoled. An hour past his bedtime, I finally decided to rock him to sleep. I watched as he slowly transformed from screaming to whining to silence. His little bald head once flailing in defiance now released in exhaustion. I felt the weight of his tense body turn limp as sleep overtook the fight. Without warning, I was suddenly back in the hospital room holding my angel's lifeless body and kissing her sweet bald head for the final time.
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Before Relay I decided to download Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture" audiobook on my ipod. Listening to the wisdom of a man dying of pancreatic cancer seemed like the perfect accompaniment to the many laps around the track. I barely scratched the surface at Relay and have been listening to the book on my commute ever since. It is filled with humor and intelligence and common sense wisdom. It's about dreaming big and breaking down walls that stand in your way. It's a summary of everything he wants to pass on to his three young children. And we are privileged enough to share in it as well. Get it. You won't be sorry.

Last Friday on my way home from work, I glanced down at the ipod and was saddened to find I was nearly at the end of this little treasure. The rest would have to wait until Monday. A treat to brighten my commute to work!

As I was turning off the television later that night, I saw Randy Pausch's face light up the screen. At age 47, Randy died of complications from pancreatic cancer. Obviously I never knew him. But hearing his words fill my car each day somehow made this loss personal. Maybe I was still reeling from the earlier blows. Or maybe my heart was aching for his wife and kids. Or maybe his death is a reminder that life can change in an instant. Whatever the cause, it hurt.
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It's the little things that get you. They don't add up, they multiply. As quickly as the flood rises around you, it recedes into normalcy. I don't know which is harder. The flood or the aftermath.

13 comments:

Rebecca July 29, 2008 at 4:00 PM  

Oh Lori, I'm sorry. My heart aches for you. I pray that as time passes the memories become easier. You are so strong, you are allowed to break down. If I can do anything, please let me know. Thinking of you.

Megan July 29, 2008 at 4:28 PM  

I am so sorry, Lori. I can't imagine what it's like to grieve for Lillian, to celebrate her life, to love and care for Ian, to be thrilled to be parents to a second child yet deal with the fact he won't personally know your first ... to be in all those roles at the same time. You handle it all amazingly. I'm thinking of you.

Sarah W July 29, 2008 at 4:44 PM  

I can't pretend to understand what you are going through, but please know that you and Jeff are in my prayers daily.

Jennifer July 29, 2008 at 5:18 PM  

Lori,
My heart also aches for you and Jeff. I'm not sure how you two do it, but please know that you can break down with me anytime you want. Thank you so much for trusting those of us who read this with your heart.
Love you and praying for you!!!

LCM July 29, 2008 at 6:33 PM  

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. Often times it seems that people should 'suck it up and move on' for the sake of normalcy and other peoples' feelings. It's sad that the world wants us to put a time limit on grief. Your post is a great reminder that grief has it's own time limit and things never truly go away...we just slowly make our own peace.
I read The Last Lecture as well and really enjoyed it. I am glad he got to have more time than they thought he would. Sometimes I wonder if it's better to have time to say goodbye, or just to go suddenly. I still don't know.

Becci July 29, 2008 at 6:41 PM  

praying for you through all the ups and downs. the little unexpected blows never really go away... but they do become less frequent. love you sister.

Beth July 29, 2008 at 6:54 PM  

Glad you posted because as you said this IS for you. So, know we all support you and are praying for you and Jeff through these rough waters :( I have Lillian's picture in my downloaded file from when I blogged on her and she occasionally pops up when I am looking for other things. Having a mac is fun because instead of just a file name the actual picture shows :) I am going to look into that tree when I come in two weeks. Since it rains so much in Oregon I am hoping maybe I can plant it while I am there, but if they suggest to wait I will. I am just not a patient person! Hang in there.

Maverick's Momma July 29, 2008 at 7:59 PM  

I don't know what to say other than I am so very sorry. It feels so incomplete to say only that and yet it feels even worse to say absolutely nothing. This blog is definitely for you. We always blog with some particular reader in mind, but first and foremost, a true personal blog is for the author.

Anonymous July 29, 2008 at 9:11 PM  

With love and heartfelt adoration!
YOU ARE AMAZING!
Katie O'

Emily July 29, 2008 at 10:04 PM  

Dear Lori,
I am so sorry - though I know you must have heard those words a thousand times and I know there there is really no comfort in them.
Just today I was at the hospital visiting a friend of our family who just had a baby, and I held the baby for a long time. I couldn't help start really missing Lexie and even wishing it was her I was holding.
So I cannot even fathom the thought of how much it must hurt for you missing your own little girl.
I hurt knowing how deep your hurt must be. Tonight as I was at Medieval times dinner I was getting real into the sword fights and wondering how it would end. I then realized that even though I may be wondering how it all will ever work out, they already have it all planned. I then thought that's how life is. We go through it not really understanding why things happen, sometimes we stress about it and everything, and yet God has it ALL planned from start to finish. Though I maybe surprised, He never is.
It brought me comfort just thinking of that.
Know that I will definitely be praying for you and I hope God blesses you lots.
All my love,
Emily

The Tucson Gang July 30, 2008 at 6:50 AM  

Ugh, there are no words to say...we think about her often and just yesterday I was discussing with my friend - who was with me during Lillian's journey (even though we were 1500 miles away) - she feels like she knows you through your blogs. Anyway, we were just discussing how incredibly difficult it must be - to have those moments you were just reliving. We are both amazed at your strength and saddened that you had to go through it. You are an amazing person.

Todd sent me the link to "the last lecture"...and it is powerful and amazing.

Traci

Sara July 30, 2008 at 9:29 AM  

I am so sorry that the pain is flooding you now, but I am so glad you are able to express it. There are countless people out here thinking of you, praying for you and, of course, remembering Lillian. In times of flood AND in the aftermath, I'm thinking of you.

Love you ~ S

heather July 30, 2008 at 2:50 PM  

It does amaze me how utter joy and devastating grief can manage to live side by side. Thoughts to you and your family, Lori.

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