Tag Archives: family life

Blessed Beating?

Always Bless, then BEAT your brother!

Always Bless, then BEAT your brother!

Walked upstairs and found these strategically positioned outside The Brothers’ bedrooms.  Every man for himself………………..

 

Semi-Wordless Wednesday at Feeling Beachie, check it out!

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Sleeping Single?

No way out!

No way out!

Not only the last day of the year, but the LAST Monday of the month, as well.  Not only does this mean New Year’s Resolutions to make to be broken no later than January 2,  but it is also time to reflect on what has been a slice of perfection, for even a split second, in the last month for Perfect Moment Monday with Lori at Write Mind, Open Heart.

Not always easy, especially this month, which has held many challenges.  As I have said before, I believe I have done worn out my boot straps from pulling myself up.  Soooooooo, guess I’ll just have to buy some new ones,  as my Father’s voice continues to echo in my head, “I didn’t raise a whiner, quitter, or complainer.”  Thus my Boot Straps are on over night delivery and expect to be back on my feet……….or boots in the next 24 hours.

But while I’ve been “off of my feet” I got to thinking about what could be considered “my perfect moment” this month.  This brought me to thinking about Brotherly Love.  It seems to be an elusive, intangible bond…………..largely based on the fact that if you have Brotherly Love, you have all rights to trade their toys, eat their favorite cereal, steal their favorite book, blame them for anything missing or broken and  beat the crap out of them and you are still assured you have someone to play video games with the rest of the day.  I guess that’s what makes Brothers “lucky.”  

However, this is not something  I think that Johnny, The Big and The Little Brother are giving much thought.  I do think they enjoy having a “punching bag” though.  It is why I enjoy having a basement door.

Anywhoooooo, as I was saying……………..Brotherly Love, Perfect Moments……………not easy to combine.  But alas, I have………

Our home provides enough space that each Brother could have his own room.  However, it does not work that way.  Birth order having its privileges, The Big Brother does have his own room.  Johnny and The Little Brother, they share.  Why? Weellll, it must be character building, right?

Truth of the matter is, The Brothers are about the only friends Johnny really has.  A nasty side effect of Autism.  It makes me really sad at times but does not seem to rattle Johnny too much.  He is a solo operator.  Another reason it has always been so important for us that The Brothers learn to stick it out and stick together.

Mostly Johnny and The Little Brother get along just fine in their room together.  A little bit like the odd couple but mostly okay.  Except lately.  Lately, there has been some grumbling.  Johnny is a very early riser and not always quiet about it.  Causing The Little Brother to be up as well.  Causing a lot of “arguing” early in the morning.  On the other hand when Johnny is ready to go to sleep, do NOT get in his way.

Soooo, I started to think, maybe it’s time.  Maybe they need their “own space”.  I started to devise a plan for the “break-up” to happen over Christmas break.  Shared my plan with The Captain.  He was not “on board.”  His reasoning, “Johnny spends enough time alone, The Little Brother is his best buddy, I know he’s  9, but Little Brother is going to take one for the team.”

Hmmmm………….guess The Captain needs more convincing.  I was mulling all this over until one night……………………

Bedtime………………….and NOT a peaceful one.  Johnny and The Little Brother are at it.  Pointing fingers and I quote, “You’re annoying, NO YOU’RE annoying…….(get the picture)

Enter Mommy……………KNOCK IT OFF!!!  Johnny, “Mom, he’s annoying make him stop doing those noises.”  Now……..let me just say this never fails to crack me up when Johnny points the finger because he has just a few quirky ways.  Mommy had had it, NOT listening to anymore so I throw up my hands and BELLOW, “That’s it!!!  Johnny, get your things, you can sleep in your own room.  This news stops him in his tracks.  “WHAT?”

Johnny gathers up all things Batman and prepares to move.  “Where to?”  I tell him to Cousin Amber’s Old room.  So, he peaks out the door at the quiet, still room across the hall.  Then he turns and looks at his room.  All is quiet as he contemplates life on “his own.”  Next he looks at me, I continue to stare.  Finally, he speaks…………..”Mom, Can’t you just tell LITTLE BROTHER to stop being ANNOYING.”

Up pipes Little Brother……….”OH YEAH!, YOU’RE ANNOYING!”  In I chime………………Do YOU want to move to your own room?  A look of panic comes across his little face……………………No.

So in true Mommy style I state, with authority, “BOTH OF YOU, STOP BEING ANNOYING AND GO TO SLEEP.”

I turn and exit the room.   As I leave I feel a ping of joy and warm fuzzies………………………..Brotherly Love, True Brotherly Love……………maybe for more than a “moment.”

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A Moment in Time

I have been out of touch Dear Readers.  I have had a full mind and heavy heart , leaving me with a lot to write about but unsure where to begin.  Different for me, if you have had the pleasure of my company you know…………… I am chatty!  However, at times when the heart is heavy the words become stuck.  This has become the case.

Thus,  I was glad to learn from my friend Kathy over at Bereaved and Blessed it was for Time Warp Tuesday.  Just the motivation I needed.  Kathy invites us to visit an old post, reflect on “where” we were when we first wrote it and “where” we are now, in our thoughts or on whatever “journey” we may be taking.  The subject this months is “gifts.”  Very apropos as Christmas calls us to be in the “Spirit of Giving.”  Easier said than done with a grieving heart sometimes stuck in “wishing” and “hoping” for what “no longer is” or “never will be.”

I chose a post from last September.  We were fast approaching the One Year Anniversary of losing Sweet Madeline and the weight of the grief was suffocating.  Adding to the weight was watching her brother’s grieve and try to comprehend the unthinkable loss of their baby sister.  The Big Brother quite simply adored Madeline and was literally in her face at any opportunity.  Sneaking any chance to be cheek to cheek.  Not knowing what the future held I was quite often telling him to “please get out of her face, stay out of her room, let her rest.”  Reader, as you probably guessed, The Big Brother NEVER DID listen.  

As well, never did I dream this……………… his failure to listen …………….. could quite possibly be the best gift  ever.  I recount the day I received this gift in A Brother’s Love.

Welcome back……….I watched this again for the first time in a long time today.  I am still, today, as touched by the gentle heart my now Really Big Boy still has!!!!   I am even more grateful as I struggle through, without our Precious Girl, to have even just a moment preserved for a band aid for my heart.  To catch just one of those rasberry kisses.

As a Mom, I am on that poor boy all the time to just listen!!  Possibly, I should have learned my lesson with “Madeline’s Moments.”  What a treasure to have a non-listening child sneak in to video his “irresistable” Baby Sister sleeping.  To have this “gift” to watch these moments and feel completely transported to that moment when our Precious Girl lay sleeping in the next room and feel for just a “moment” that I could quite possibly just reach through and kiss and hug that Sweet, Sweet Baby.  And just for a moment I quite possibly felt her touch and  inhaled her sweet perfume…………….a gift………….no amount of money could ever buy.

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All was Right

It is the last “Monday” of the month, and I am joining Lori at Write Mind Open Heart to reflect and share on what is right, maybe even perfect in our world for a moment in time.

No………….it is NOT a typo, you read correctly, it is called Perfect Moment Monday.  Yes……………..I know it is TUESDAY butthought about my perfect moment on Monday………………..if that counts?  However, life got a little in the way on Monday and now, here I am, writing from my own personal time machine.  So, Dear Reader, please humor me and play along.  Please and thank you!

As has been said, “The best things in life aren’t things at all.”  They can’t be bought, wrapped and put under a tree.  At times they appear in what you believe to be the mundane of your life.  Not at all in those moments marketed to be perfect.

Case in point, the child, who shall remain nameless, that looks at disappointment at his gifts on Christmas Morning when he realizes you really meant he was getting that rated M for mature game.   I had already sent my own letter to Santa, was my reply.  Sad child, frustrated parent, not so perfect.

I did not have high expectations of Thanksgiving either.  When you have lost a family member, no matter the age, you struggle through the day to not be filled with grief and longing for your loved one.  This was especially tough since our Precious Madeline’s anniversary is in November and we were struggling so with this 2 year milestone.

However, for her Brothers, we knew we must pull something together and present the makings of a holiday.  Possibly complete with a new tradition.  Shake it up a bit and give all of us something to anticipate.  Something with potential for fun.  So that’s what we did.  With “four” boys in our home who love history, we headed to Gettysburg the day after Thanksgiving.  Excitement abounded……………for The Brothers, as we were going to stay in a hotel WITH a pool.  Not something we do much of so they were pretty happy.

Of course, hotel life and all looks good……………….. on paper.  Actually having The Brothers together in confining quarters is a different story.  Paper………………. not as pretty.  We did get a little front room with a pull out sleeper and t.v., etc.  Best idea Captain Daddy ever had.  Despite our suite,  after the car drive and some museum time, The Brothers weren’t really feeling “Brotherly Love.”  If my ears didn’t deceive me disparaging remarks were flying under their breaths.

Particularly difficult is managing some of Johnny’s autistic behaviors on the road.  Being away can stir up a great deal of anxiety.  And Brother being “good” brothers…………….they don’t always display much sympathy and there is a lot of OMG STOP IT, JUST STOP IT.  (By all concerned)

So where, you may be thinkingwas there any perfect moments in THIS SCENARIO.  Like I said before…………….it came out of nowhere, when I was expecting the fists to start flying I discovered this……………….

Things got quiet, so I walked into the suite (cracks me up to call it that) to see if they had left and what to my astonished eyes did I see?  The Big Brother and Johnny, the MOST unlikely pair, lying side by side on the bed, with their legs touching…..yes, touching………….. and then I noticed their hands.  Their hands were pressed together in that way of comparing and then it happened, their fingers locked together.  What an absolute perfect sight for my sad eyes.  My heart filled to see Big Brother and Johnny sharing this time, albeit brief, when they were at peace and all was right in our little life for that Perfect Moment.

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Gilded Tears

Gilded View

Fall.  Such a beautiful time of year.  I love the crispness in the air.  The breathtaking colors of the leaves.  The warm glow of the autumn sky.  For so long these images of fall took me straight back to high school and memories of shlepping along with the band and football games.

That memory has been replaced.  Now that crisp air and breathtaking colors conjure a much different memory.  One of fear, hope, hospitals and grief.

It was a beautiful November day when I first learned we were going to be blessed with our Fourth child.  Initially we were overwhelmed.    Four children and I hadn’t been in the baby business in 6 years. A surprise blessing you could say. 

Another beautiful November …………..one year later…………..our Beautiful Madeline was here.  Four months and four surgeries.  Finally she was home, we were beyond thrilled.  In the blink of an eye our thrill turned to fear.  With one turn of my back I heard her gasping for air and turned to see her sweet face struggling and blue.  In a blur, 911 was called.  She was rushed to the ER, then promptly to the OR.  Doctors took turns holding the tiniest of tubes to keep her airway from completely closing.  By nothing short of a miracle, a tracheostomy was successfully done, a mere 5 weeks after open heart surgery.  I was numb with fear ……hope and……………unconditional love.

For the remainder of that beautiful fall, I watched the leaves and sky turn golden from the side of a hospital crib.  I could not feel the warmth of the crisp air.  My senses were overwhelmed by the continous beeping of monitors.  My eyes not able to take in the beauty of the foliage for they were fixated on the numbers the monitors were screaming.  Fight songs playing through my head were replaced with pleading prayers for healing

From this hospital room, I  watched the tree grow bare and then droop with snow.  Finally………………. a December morning and with a staff of home nurses Madeline came home……………….we were again, beyond thrilled.  Again, our thrill turned to fear when two weeks later she began vomiting.  A routine follow up became a night in the ICU and more surgery.  Pleading prayers for healing turned to begging God for mercy and strength.

It was Baby Girls First Thanksgiving and Christmas and her stocking was to be hung on her hospital crib decorated with Red Velvet bows.   Madeline rang in the New Year in a Pediatric Rehabilitation Hospital.  Again……… we pleaded God for strength to bring her home.

God heard our prayers…………….our Little Irish Lass amazed us all and finally came home.

Winter turned to Spring and much to our  delight she was with us to done her Easter finery and stare in wonder at the brightly colored easter eggs.  We had gotten over the hump, we just knew it.

Spring to summer…………..many doctors appointment, several near misses………. but she was home.  Baby Girl was a fighter, one tough cookie!  Feisty, you could say.

Imagine our euphoric delight on July 4th.  We had made it!  One Year!!!  Red velvet cupcakes and sparklers all around.  We even got to go to the beach……………Baby Girl got to her dip her toes in the ocean and frolic in the sand.

Roller coaster.  Death defying roller coaster ride………………a concise description of the year of emotions.   But hey, we were taking that last smooth turn for all it was worth.

Summer turned to fall……………..and preparations began for diving into the beautiful fall, renewing our senses with that crisp air and golden sky and rejoicing in our life……………..away from hospitals.  October was pumpkin patches and Halloween costumes.  Our Madeline was a perfectly adorable Bumble Bee.  She stared in amazement at the festive activity and barrage of pictures.  Pinch me………………I was dreaming……………..bring on the Holiday fun.

beautiful November morning, Madeline lets out a scream……………….911 is called……………..here we go again.  Our joy now turns to horror…………….absolute horror.   Pinch me……………………I must be dreaming…………………. a NIGHTMARE!!!  Again………….we pray…………our pleading prayers………….turn to begging……… to hysteria.  Our tears flow and  wrap our body in a pain so raw you can’t believe this is real.  On this November morning, with a  clear blue sky, Our Sweet Madeline took her last breath.  Again I prayed……………….Please God, this can’t be real…………….it was.  It must be a nightmare………………..no……………. it’s your new life.

A week later on a beautiful November morning, with golden leaves and clear blue sky…………….Our Sweet Madeline was laid to rest.  My new fall memory…………………her brothers, wearing blue blazers and white gloves, carrying her tiny casket up to her burial site.  She was laid to rest under a tree, ripe with fall foliage, under a warm autumn sky.

Two years have now passed……………………slow and full of pain.  A golden, warm fall day.  Beautiful and painful.  Trees heavy with golden leaves in a gilded sky.  I  pray for strength………for me……….to find a new way and for healing…………..for our broken hearts.  I still plead and pray……….Dear God, keep my Baby Girl in your care, safe in your heavenly arms…………….until she can be in mine…….on a beautiful November morning, in a warm gilded sky.

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A Matter of Taste

Johnny sensed that possibly I was getting a little too comfortable being his Mom.  He must miss those early days of meeting all those nice security guards and other complete, random strangers.  Those were the days when autism kicked me in the pants on a daily basis.

Back in the day after meeting all these nice security type people and other helpful citizens, I would feel the need to explain to my new acquatinces how it is that my child escaped from the secure children’s play area in the mall,  rode the escalator to target, and was now sitting contently playing in the toy aisle.  Better yet, why it was that he was licking the swingset on the playground and drinking water out of the bathroom sink (yes, disgusting, I know) at the ballfield.

Not wanting to give the wrong impression, I would stare into their horror-sticken faces and go into great detail how my little boy had autism, that is why……………that is why,  it brought me to tears……… the comments……………the looks.  Because when your child is the one taste-testing the playground equipment and facilities, it is always helpful to have a well-meaning citizen inform me that I “really shouldn’t let him do that.”  REALLY??  Thanks for the tip!  I felt the need to let them know because I couldn’t, after all,  have these complete strangers thinking I was a bad parent.

After several years of that routine, I was plum wore out.  One from chasing Johnny all over these parks and ballfields (cause that boy is quick) and two, weellll…………….all that explaining to strangers was flat out EXHAUSTING.  I was never going to see those people again……………….I’m smarter than that………………..I would just switch parks.  That………..and I developed a new motto.  Upon releasing Johnny from his snack bar, aka, the swingset, I would gather The Brothers, announce our work here was done and simply………leave.  Head held high, dignity……………weelllll, as intact as possible.  He was licking the swingset afterall.

My point……….I thought those days were behind us, but apparently NOT!  Alas, just last week, at The Brother’s School, Johnny must have thought that the wooden block, used as a doorstop, looked pretty tasty, because there he was…………yes…………………licking it.

And this time no tears, (I have much more to cry about)…………….I looked at my friend, who clearly saw him snacking, smiled, shrugged my shoulders and said, “Wow, what progress, I don’t even feel like crying.”

So, thank you, Johnny, for being you.  For not letting me get too comfortable, for your daily insights, and for keeping me open to the many possibilities of life………………..like maybe if you do stand in front of two fans with your Batman Cape, you can fly………….and maybe, just maybe…………a doorstop does taste pretty good after a long, hard dayno explanation required………………

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That’s the Facts

“There’s a time you got to go and show 
You’re growin’ now you know about 
The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life. 

When the world never seems 
to be livin up to your dreams 
And suddenly you’re finding out 
the Facts of Life are all about you, you. “

source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/

I feel the need to follow-up on what I will now refer to as “The pants incident.”  Dear reader,  if you are lost please refer to my previous post, entitled, most appropriately, “Keep your pants on……literally.”

So………………this morning I send Johnny off to school feeling pretty confident that all pants will remain in their proper position.  One, because The Captain and I gave extensive speeches last night on keeping your privates, well, private.  I thought we did some pretty darn good parenting.  However, I have to humbly admit that what Johnny probably heard was much like Charlie Brown  when he was lectured.  So……let’s just say what his primary motivation for proper pants placement…………..you guessed it……………the stop in your tracks fear of spending the rest of the school year sentenced to the daily wearing of church pants.  Yep, I believe that little behavior modification was the supreme motivator.  Mom and Dad can go away for the school day………church pants………not so much.

Johnny kept this information fresh in his mind.  Yeeeeaaaaah, Mom…………………only one glitch……………I seem to have missed a very important notice that came home from school.  The one informing me that beginning TODAY, Johnny’s class would begin discussing………….say it isn’t so……………….. THE FACTS OF LIFE!!! (que music).

Yes, he is at that age……..much to my chagrin,  and as much as I prefer to……………I know I must keep my head out of the sand and Mom up.  Oh……….and pay better attention to the papers coming home.

I got to school to pick him up…………….he was standing at the door with his teacher…………not a good sign……ever!  Guess the “Facts of Life” was about as big a hit as algebra.  My Johnny is a literal man.  You do not tell him one day to keep it all private and then the next expect him to remain calm when what he is to keep covered is now PLASTERED ALL OVER A POWER POINT.  From all reports not a pretty scene.  Can you blame him?  Guess it’s hard for all to focus when Johnny is bellowing what all the other boys are  thinking, “GET ME OUT OF HERE, I DON’T LIKE THIS, I’M UNCOMFORTABLE.”  

Teacher’s suggestion……………..modified Facts of Life………….wonder what that leaves out.

Walking to the car…………..Johnny trailing behind pleading, “I can’t take that class, I can’t talk about puberty, I’M NOT EVEN A TEENAGER!!!  Good point, Johnny, Good point…………………now, let’s go find some sand………….. I feel the need to bury my head.

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Keep your pants on…LITERALLY

Mommy’s Brave Face

Today I will be writing under the heading, “Never a dull moment” or better………… perhaps…………….., “The Once Again Futile Attempt to fly under the proverbial radar.”  Yeeeepppp……………………..I think that sums it up.  But Blessed are the Brief, so I will sum it up like this………………DRINK PLEASE!!

I get it, I know…………..Life is not easy and No One ever said it was, Life is not fair either and yeah, yeah………..I know…………..Sweet Darlin, no one ever promised you a rose garden.  I think roses aren’t actually necessary,  and at this point I would settle for some garden variety marigolds or even some of those pretty little white “flowers” we used to make “necklaces” out of when we were little.  But I digress…………………..

Anywhooo………………… with all of this knowledge of  ease and fairness, I ask you Dear Reader…………………can’t some things be easy, even a given……….like getting your kids to do the basics…………………you know, homework, brush their teeth, KEEP THEIR PANTS ON AT SCHOOL!!!!!!!

As I have said before, Johnny has been in school for a LOOOONNNNG time.  About 8 years now.  I like to think we got this down.  We know the ropes, when I tell him, “have a good day”, I suppose I should not have neglected to mention……………….AND KEEP YOUR PANTS PROPERLY FASTENED AROUND YOUR WAIST!!!!!!!!!!!  If you have a child that instinctively does this……………..GOD BLESS YOU, cause if you, like me, can’t always take the basics for granted, you are either laughing at me or crying with me, cause you know of the fun I speak.  I have said it before, I say it again………….Autism is the gift that keeps giving………one surprise after another.  It is not for the faint of heart, that is for sure, no matter your place on the spectrum.

What behavior modification technique did I utilize to reinforce the desired behavior.  Weeellllll, I dug deep into my vast wealth of behavior modification and came up with the following pearls of behavior wisdom……………………”JOHNNY! if you do that again in school you will have to wear church clothes with buttons, hooks and belts EVERY DAY!!!”

Yep, I did it, I went with scare tactics.  Sometimes operating on fear gets sold short.

Johnny’s response – Got it.

Me – Good.  And like I never met Johnny before……………… I just had to do it, ask that one question that I know better than asking………………..why Johnny?

Johnny – Cause my brain sometimes tells me to do dumb things……….(he looks at my glaring face, recalls the closet full of khaki pants and belts and re-considers)………….but I think now my mind just told my brain that we have learned our lesson.  Good Team Work, Johnny, Good Team Work.

Now Johnny, do Mommy a favor………………have your mind tell your brain to give your Mommy a break…………. or a drink…………all under the radar, of course.

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Gate of Faith

Home

There is no good or easy way to tell your child about death, especially the death of their Baby Sister.  Much time is put into teaching them to pray, not preparing for death.  “Pray for our Sweet Madeline and for her Doctors and Nurses to take good care of her, so she can come home soon.”  We recited a version of this simple yet pleading prayer for 16 months.

Left with no words when our prayers were not answered in a way we can possibly ever fully grasp,  we simply said, “God called Madeline home.”  “She is an Angel now with God, her cousins and Grandma and Grandpa’s.”  

As I have not found even this knowledge to be adequately comforting, I often wondered what The Brothers were thinking.  Big Brother is pretty firm in his faith for a little/big guy.  He told me with awe, “Mom, she’s like a Saint now!”  Johnny, so literal, simply said through tears, “she was so beautiful and now she is gone.”

The Little Brother, maybe was the most like me…………… he simply didn’t seem able to take it.  Once all the “doing” was over for her funeral and he was sent back to his “normal” day-to-day routine, you could say the bottom fell out.  He to did not know what to do with this knowledge.  Knowledge that his Baby Sister he and everyone prayed so hard for, was gone……………..she was now in this place called Heaven and it was supposed to bring peace and comfort.  Yet, all around him was great sadness.  His response to his great sadness………………..retreat………..retreat under the desk, in the closet, under the Christmas tree and in the bathroom.  And we didn’t know what he was thinking because he refused to discuss.  However, as they say, actions can speak louder than words so we concluded he was simply as broken and confused as anyone.

Thank to selfless, dedicated teachers going way beyond the scope of their job descriptions, Little Brother began to retreat a little less, and less.  He began to talk just a little but just enough.  One day, his teacher told me to check his folder.  He had written a poem.  I was a little nervous as to what he might write.  I was thinking his favorite (potty humor) or something angry.  I thought…………wrong.  The Little Brother had possibly been sold short.  He hadn’t been shut down as much as possibly he was giving this place Heaven a great deal of thought.  And while under those desks he had been painting this comforting picture………………..

GATE OF FAITH

Just at the gate

Is where you’ll find your fate.

As you see in the bright night

Just coming through

Just follow me and the moon rises

Just come with me

I’ll do as you wish

By the river full of fish

As I lead the way

To the gate of your faith,

Just as we pass trees in peace,

As long as you stay with me

You’ll never be lost,

As the owl flies up in the night sky

You’ll always have your way with me

Just follow me

The gate of your faith

It’s just so hard

To resist the feeling.

(The Little Brother, 2nd grade)

So…………..I wonder, is this what Baby Girl  heard when God Called Her Home?

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St. M’s March

Sweet Bumble Bee

My Sweet Little Bumble Bee.  That is the last photo ever taken.  It is our treasure. 

For two years I have carted  my constant companion, grief.  She never fails to show up, and her presence is unwelcome.  That I have met her and fostered such an intimate relationship is a fact I could live without.   Our relationship is tenuous at best.  She stabs me in my heart at every opportunity.  She thrives on the surprise attack.

I try with all of my might to keep her at bay.  The best I usually do is to remain in a state of a face to face standoff.  I know she is there and I am doing what I can with every fiber of my being to keep going.  In return she stands firm taunting me with each step I take.  I feel that I do a decent job of carrying on.  Some days grief works harder.  Today, she did some of her best work.

Tomorrow is the two-year anniversary of Our Sweet Madeline’s death.  I was prepared for tomorrow.  Today, not so much.

Two years ago, November 1, 2010, was her last day of life.  This is the thought that played on a loop in my head.  What did we do together?  I struggle to remember.  Did I spend enough time with her?  Did I hold her every chance I got.  What about hugs and kisses?  Were there enough?  Is there ever enough?

I remember that evening sitting with her in our chair waiting for her night nurse.  I knew of a little girl with down syndrome and shared the pictures with Madeline.  Telling her she was going to be so strong just like that little girl someday.  Had I only known our someday would never come.  This was our day together, this was to be our final day together.

Grief changed her game on me today.  Instead of how long it has been since Sweet Madeline died, I find my whole being aching for how long it’s been since she has lived.

Today is All  Saints Day.  I went to mass.  Prepared to see the kindergartners dressed in their Saintly Attire.  Not at all prepared for what hit.  Never will Madeline be  5.  Never will she go to kindergarten and NEVER will she march down the aisle to When the Saints go Marching In.

Through my tears I had a thought.  She has done her march.  I like to think she led the March……………the day God called her home.

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