Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Under Attack!

There is a mouse.
A mouse.

And I am F-R-E-A-K-I-N-G out!

Okay in all reality, I am sure there is more than just one mouse. There are probably several mice in my house, and my overly-active imagination has me convinced that they are plotting, just waiting around every corner to jump out at me.

Maybe that's an over-reaction.
Let me back up.

Late last month we were out of power for eleven days. I don't know what it was about being out of power, but when we returned home we found that a mouse had left us some little "presents" in my dish towel drawer. We have never, and I mean NEVER, in the five years of living here, had a mouse in our kitchen. There were a few that had made it into the garage when we first moved in, but we replaced the garage doors and that was the end of that problem- until now!

So I did what any manic sane person would do, I threw out every dish towel, cleaned the drawer out, and lied to myself that that was the end of my mouse problem.

Then I found another "present" in the bottom drawer of the stove where I keep the lids to my pots. Then near our furnace. Don't like where this is going? Yeah, me either.

I am totally beside myself as to how this could have happened. Anyone who knows me knows how OCD I am about things being clean. I never EVER go to sleep with dishes in the sink, always wipe counters down before and after use and before bed, mop my floor at least once if not more a week, don't leave food out etc. etc. So where did I go wrong?

I spent the better part of the first week we were back scrubbing every surface, every toy, washing all the blankets and playmats that the babies use just-in-case a mouse had so much as looked at them. It was a lot of work, mainly because in my mind nothing is ever "clean enough," and because I consulted Dr. Google who scared the shiznit out of me when it brought me to pages about the Hanta Virus (we actually don't have this in my state) and some crazy blurb about mice liking babies because they smell like milk! How can you relax at night after reading something like that? I can't!

Then things calmed down, and we had a few beautiful weeks of non-mousey bliss, and all felt right in the world again. I never actually had seen any mice, so I told myself that it was us not being home for that length of time that made them come wander into our home, and that I was sure they had fully vacated the premises before our return-how considerate of them.

I started to feel safe again. To live life the way I had before the mice had come calling. I was once again happy in my home... and then it happened. This morning while cleaning the floor, I found one-lone-"present" waiting for me in the corner. It hadn't been there the night before... it hadn't been there the hour before! That means while the snowflakes and I were playing just a dozen or so feet away, this mouse was helping himself to my - as I later discovered - onions of all things. Blech!

I freaked out. Left hubs a message that was something to the affect of "Oh-my-gosh-there-was-a-mouse-it-pooped-on-the-floor-I'm-outta-here-this-is-NOT-acceptable" then packed the kids in the car and got the hell outta dodge - which really means I drove to Target and walked aimlessly with the babies in the carriage while drinking a tasty treat from Starbucks and waiting for my husband to come home to rescue me.

So yes, it seems. We are under attack.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quick Favor to Ask

Good Morning!

Today is the LAST DAY of voting in the Reader's Digest Your Life essay contest. It would mean so much to me if you could cast a quick vote for my essay about Peyton by visiting this link. This contest has been something positive for me to focus on during grief season this year, a way to honor her rather than just mourn her, and I can't tell you how much it would mean for me to open Reader's Digest and see my little Peyton staring back at me from the pages, spreading awareness to its millions of readers about infant loss, infant leukemia, infertility, and that there is life after loss. Any help you can offer in voting, sharing, tweeting today would be GREATLY appreciated.


Monday, November 14, 2011

To those fresh in grief.

I feel like there has been so.much.loss lately.
It is almost too much to bear.

You hear stories about soldiers in war who have seen so many terrible things that they almost grow numb to the horrors they bear witness to.

That doesn't happen here.
In this corner of the loss world.
You never, ever grow numb.

When you come across the story of a little one who has died, when you see the pictures of their parents holding them and saying goodbye, or read (and can relate to) a final post from a mother who realizes that the battle has been lost.

There is no growing numb to that.

It is both a gift and a burden.

I cry for children I have never met.
For loved little lives unlived.
For the pain that their parents now face, and the tough journey that I know firsthand is ahead of them.

There are days when you almost have to step away because there is SO MUCH SADNESS AND GRIEF that you forget the other side, the happy, blessed, sun-shining side of the world even exists.

You forget that most children are born healthy.
That they get to live full lives.
Because it seems the deck is so stacked against them.

You have to make a conscious effort to remember to celebrate.
To remind yourself about the beauty.
And the good.
Because the dark cloud of grief and loss is so vast that it can weigh you down.

Why are so many children born destined to die?
Why are so many loved children lost?
Why are so many loving parents forced to walk the road of grief?

Why? Why? Why?

The injustice is overwhelming.

I was trying to think of the right things to say to a friend whose baby just died, and went back to an email that I had sent to my cousin when her daughter, Faith, died late last year.

I decided that I would share it with this friend. But also that I would share it here.
For what it's worth.

This is my advice to those fresh in grief.
Some of this may be familiar to those of you who have read here for a while.

All I can tell you are the few truths that I have learned on this journey. You will survive this. It may feel impossible in the coming days and weeks but I promise you, you will.

When you don't know what else to do - just keep breathing. Things don't return to the way they were, but you will find joy again with time.

Also know that you and your husband will in all likelihood grieve differently. That is okay. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, just hold onto the love you have for one another, the love that created the amazing life that was your child, and you will come out the other side of this stronger than you can imagine.
Laughter is not a betrayal to the child you lost, and tears are not a betrayal to those loved ones you still have with you. Like the bible says “A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance.” It feels impossible but I promise you, you will dance again. And laugh.  

It took me 8 months to even want to go on living.  Two years until I smiled on a regular basis. That was my timetable. Do what feels best for you.

Even having walked this road, I find myself at a loss tonight. All I can do is tell you guys how loved you are, and direct as many prayers as I can from those I know in your direction.

My thoughts are with all those on this road.
Those who will start on this journey tomorrow. 
And those who have come to a place where they can look back on the children they have lost with love, while embracing the possibility of the joys yet to come.

As a way to honor her third birthday, I have entered the Reader's Digest "Your Life" Contest with an entry about my experience mothering Peyton. The voting is open until November 15th, and you can vote once a day. It would mean a great deal to me to get Peyton's story in Reader's Digest. Can you please help me out by visiting this link and casting your vote for my entry.Thank you so much! I would really love to honor Peyton this way, as well as to raise awareness about infant loss, infertility, and the reality of Peyton's cancer.

Peyton's story is a rare one, but it still deserves to be told. xoxo

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Heavy Heart - Baby Alexander Update

It is with a heavy heart that I report to you all that this babyloss mommas club has claimed its newest member. Sweet Baby Alexander has passed away. He was a brave little warrior, and the sadness I feel at learning of his passing is beyond words.

Please send some messages of love and comfort to his mother, Amanda, at her blog http://alexandermerlin.blogspot.com/

I am devastated at the loss of this precious little boy, and would appreciate if you could all join me in remembering his parents in your prayers and positive thoughts.

RIP sweet baby boy. You have touched so many lives in your six months on earth.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Counting Blessings in the Dark

There was a storm.
A big storm.
It hit our area the Saturday before Halloween.

A tree fell on our house.
Then another.

Large branches damaged our deck.
Landed on our car.

One of the trees that fell ripped the power lines out of our house,
and we were left in the dark.

NINE days later... We are still there.

The hotels in our area were booked immediately. Then most of them lost power, too, and people were left paying to sit in the dark and the cold.

The first few days we "toughed it out."
Poured water in the toilet to flush.
Ate food packed in snow.
Slept huddled in one bed in 20 degree weather,
trying to keep our Snowflakes from freezing.

Then a friend offered up a room at their house.
They had a generator that could power one space heater.
They used it in the guest bedroom to keep my little family warm,
while they slept in the cold.
Can you think of a more selfless act?

By Wednesday, with no end to the outage in sight, we headed out to stay with family who had gotten their power back, and have been there since.

Twice we were told our power was restored, and we packed up and headed home,
only to find it had not been.

The house was cold and dark.
Every tree in our yard had been destroyed.
It was pretty disheartening.

Yet moments like these make you realize just how good we've got it.

Yes, we complain about things like the price of oil (nearly $4 a gallon where I live, and the only way to heat our house)or about paying $5 a gallon for milk, but we generally don't have to worry about staying warm. Or having the lights on. Or our next meal.

My family struggles, as we all do these days, with our finances. I clip coupons. Worry about paying certain bills. Sacrifice to make ends meet. But our basic needs are always met. Even in this storm I knew the power would EVENTUALLY return. Life would EVENTUALLY go back to normal. That knowing, is itself, a blessing.

Over the course of the last week, I have learned that the friend of a friend died in pregnancy - leaving her husband without his wife and child. I learned that a very special baby that I have been praying for and have come to care so much about, is in all likelihood going to lose his battle.

These are REAL problems.

Yes, my property has suffered significant damage.
Yes, we have lost all of our food, and had to make it through some uncomfortably cold and damp nights.
Yes, we waited in line over an hour for gas - have been kept in the dark for nine days - and even lost our pet fish to the cold.

But my family is together.
And healthy.
And safe.

We have the love of family and good friends who were willing to take us in.

So I am counting these blessings.
Even in the dark I can see that they are what truly matter.