Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The things that are seemingly insignificant can be the worst

Last week, my husband and I went to buy a new washer and dryer, since our washer had gone kaput.

We were driving around and we drove by the  the Old Navy where Lauren had gone that last week. It was a weird thing. She had a little job and wanted to go and buy some things for the summer. I offered to go with her and she said that was ok, she just wanted to go alone. That hurt me a little then, because my girl was growing up, but if someone had shot me in the heart with an arrow the other day when I saw that Old Navy, it would not have hurt any less than the pain I felt right at that moment.

It's crazy how something that insignificant can tear your heart into, even after all these years. I feel like I keep repeating this over and over on this blog, but I feel like it is a way for people to understand the pain that losing your child can bring.

It is unlike any pain we might endure - labor pain, losing your parents and/or siblings, having a cut finger, having someone deceive you, losing in love... It seems none of that compares to this, in my mind.

It's a sharp pain, that causes you to double over, like your heart has broken literally. The tears jump to your eyes, and you cannot breathe. The worst part is, you know other people never understand it. They think you should be better by now. Not gonna happen, I guess.

What to do? I hang on to my faith for dear life. I try to keep my head up. I think of my son, daughter-in- law and my grandchildren, and how blessed I am to have them. I think of how I may be hurting my husband when I fall apart. I chastise myself for not being stronger. All of that happens in a matter of seconds.

It is coming on to May, and this year it will be 14 years. 14 years of pain. It is almost too hard to bear sometimes.

I will not give up, though. That pain means she is still in my heart and with me all the time.  I will embrace it, as surely as I would embrace her if she were here. I will love her dad and her brother and his family like she would have. I can do that for her, and for myself.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Mini-pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament

Last week, my husband Richard and I went to a place I have wanted to go to for years. The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama is a beautiful place that was built by Mother Angelica (founder of EWTN) and is located next to the Monastery of the Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration. If you can, look up the website or Facebook page. Richard and I had a wonderful and peaceful time at this lovely place. 
There is a wonderful gift shop, and a lovely chapel called the "Creche" that tells the story of the Nativity. 

You forget you are in Alabama, or even in the U.S. It really made Richard and me want to go back to Rome. 

What's in a name?

We just spent four days of my Spring Break in Birmingham with my son and his family.

One of their favorite things is when we come to daycare to pick them up. They will run across the room to greet us when they notice we are there, looks of pure joy on their faces. It is one of our favorite moments, too.

We took care of the little girls on Thursday, and had the joy of taking Rosemary to her little dance class.

Friday, Grandpa and I went on a mini-pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Ala. (See post) We picked the girls up that evening from daycare, too. On Saturday, the whole family went to the Botanical Gardens for the Cherry Blossom Festival

Vivian, our 19-month-old, is taking in everything, and learning to communicate in her own little way. (This was always one of my most treasured times of my children's lives. I am enjoying this time in my grandchildren's lives too.)

When Rosie was about this age, her name for Grandpa was "GanCa." (the c is pronounced like k) She always lumped my husband and me into one name "MimiGanCa" or sometimes "GanCaMimi." (She occasionally still does that, even though she can clearly say "Grandpa" now.)

My daughter-in-law tells me she did the same thing with her other grandparents, too. Paul and Sharon ended up being "PawPawGramma" or "GrammaPawPaw."

And Rosie always said, "I hold you, Mimi"  when she wanted me to pick her up. She would make that request of whomever she wanted to hold her.  She still, at 3 years old, will use that terminology from time to time.

Vivan has not done either of those things yet. She has been saying "Mimi" for a few months now. She has given her grandpa his name as of this past week. He is "Pa-Ca." (the c is pronounced like k) She is such a loving little girl. She comes up to Pa-Ca and grabs him around the leg just to hug him. She calls me and holds up her little arms for me to take her. (Rosie did that too). Viv loves for you to hold her.

Our new names as grandparents (whatever they may be from time to time) are the best names that we could ever have. I told their mom that next to being a mother, being a grandmother is the best job I have ever had. Those two jobs are my most favorite jobs.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

My big baby girl

President’s Day was a long weekend for us so we went to visit the grand babies and their parents. (You notice I am thinking more and more like a grandparent.)

Anyway, visiting with them always does our hearts good, and this time Rosemary (our 3 year old) was not feeling great, and was struggling with a little cold, but other than that, all was well.

I started to realize just how grown up Rosie is. I feel like sometimes I am a little behind in realizing how they are maturing. Vivian is in that stage where she loves to hang on to me. When we got to their day care, I waved at her through the window in the door, and she nearly broke her neck getting to me. She got in my arms, laid her little head on my shoulder and did not move all through us going to the gym where Rosie was playing, visiting Rosie’s class for a “tour” and getting to the car. She wasn’t asleep, she just wanted Mimi to hold her.

Rosie, on the other hand, is Miss Independent right now. I used to be sad that she didn’t ask to be held or come up and hug me all the time like she did when she was smaller, but once I relaxed, she came to me on her own time. She gave me a hug and kiss when we got there, but she is her own little person and likes to be independent. She is dressing herself, and putting on her own shoes. I am so proud of her.

Now if I am sitting on the couch, Rosie will come up and climb onto my lap while watching TV. She wants to be close to me I think, but when she wants to. I love that she is growing and maturing, but I will always miss her being my first grand baby.

She is so sweet, that when she brought down her own little dress up costume from her closet, she thought to bring one for her sister too. When they changed costumes the next day, Vivian ran out and got her own.

She really does show an incredible amount of patience with her baby sister  to only be 3 herself.

I’m going to do with these two what I TRIED to do with my own: Enjoy all of their phases!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Mothering my way

Late last year I wrote about the "purple flowers" incident, when I did not get flowers for Lauren for Advent. This time I made sure I got them for Lent. My dilemma was what to do for January. The weather had been so bad that I left her Christmas flowers on her grave way past Epiphany, and then a third of the month was gone. 

I went to the store to get her flowers and decided that I would get pink roses and Valentine's stuff since Lent begins on Valentine's Day this year (thanks, Year B).  I will keep the Valentine's stuff on there and then switch to my purple Lent flowers for March. (I better get to the store for Easter Lilies pretty soon, I guess.) 

It seems a trifle to other people I am sure, when I worry about what is on her grave. But for me it is really important. One of her friends once told me that this was my way of "mothering" her. I guess that is right. The thought of her grave having no flowers on it to show our love and how much we miss her is really distressing to me. So as long as I am physically and mentally able, I will go there and "mother" her in this way. 

I will also try to "mother" (honor) her by being a good wife to her father, a good mother to her brother, a good mother-in-law to her sister-in-law and a good grandmother to her nieces. I'll try to be there when her scholarship recipients are honored, so that she can be remembered. 

New pink flowers for Valentine's Day took the place of the old Christmas ones. As my daughter-in-law said, "Days are long, but years are fast." One day when I can no longer bring her flowers, I hope I will be with her instead. 

Prayer request: Three teenagers were killed over the weekend in my home county in South Carolina. I would ask for prayers for their families and friends, and most especially their parents. 
Prayers for Charner, Krislyn and Hunter. 

Eternal rest, grant unto them, O Lord
and let perpetual light shine upon them.

May they rest in peace. Amen.

May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

It must be nice to always be right

I guess I am having my own "pity party" today or something.

For the last couple of days, I've been called out and corrected by people who are 25, 30 and 40 years younger than me.

Seems here lately everything I say or do is wrong. I am the oldest person in my office, yet I have nothing to offer or contribute to this place these days. It is quite disconcerting sometimes to realize I had lived a whole life before some of these people were even born. It doesn't seem to matter though.

I try to contribute in meetings or other discussions, only to get shot down or interrupted like what I have to say is not important. Maybe it's NOT important any more.

If you are older, you are disposable in this society.  I am passe', I guess.

These are the kind of days I wish my daughter was still here. I think at 32, she would be a mature young woman who could maybe help me navigate this new place I find myself in. I miss having a mother and a daughter, really.

I think I will follow that old adage I once learned: "My tongue within my lips I rein, for who talks much must talk in vain."

End of rant.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Another sweet gift

My daughter-in-law Anna is a very thoughtful young lady. She does a great job of including us (even though we are a little distance from them) in all of the girls' activities, etc.  We visit with each other as often as we can but, thank goodness for FaceTime and texts.

We are able to enjoy their little stages as if we lived next door. It means a lot to their Grandpa and me to be included in their lives. As I have stated in the past, these little girls are medicine to our hearts and salves to our souls. I just hope that I was half as good a daughter-in-law to my in-laws as Anna is turning out to be to us. She is a great wife to our son, and a wonderful mother to her girls. Motherhood has come quite naturally to Anna and she really loves it, I can tell.

In the past she has given us little homemade gifts from the girls. Those gifts mean more to me than she will ever know.  I have everything I could ever need materially speaking, and these little things are more precious to me than gold.

I don't think she is making a special effort in this because we lost Lauren, I just believe it is her own sweet nature. She has two wonderful parents and family who molded her into the great young woman she is today. But she is not insensitive to our loss; she has been a good listener to our son when he shares his grief with her, as she has with us. I truly believe Lauren would have loved her sister-in-law and her little nieces. I know she would be as proud of her brother and the great husband and father he has become as we are.

This year for Christmas, she gave us a wooden plaque from the girls that she painted and put the word "Love" on using the girls handprint and footprints. The "o" in love is made by Rosemary's little hand and the "v" is made, most appropriately I might add, by Vivian's little feet.

It hangs proudly in our den, where we spend most of our time. Thank you Anna for your lovely present and your lovely presence in our family.