Saturday, October 25, 2008

Never knew I could feel this way (and need your help)

I never knew I could hurt so much, love so much, miss someone so much, laugh so much in the midst of pain, and feel so much all at once.  
I have not been able to write for a while due to two reasons, the first being that we were in Mexico for a week, and the second reason is that I usually do a new post in the evening, but that has been the time that I miss Drew the most.
All things considered, we are doing well, but I will try to tell you a little about what life is like right now.  Please don't be discouraged in reading this, and I will try not to write sad posts too often.  I will finish this post (which threatens to be lengthy...) with an update about our trip.
As long as I can remember I have most often woken up with an excitement for the day ahead.  I still wake up with that feeling and then my mind adjusts itself as I remember again that Drew is not with us.  He is here, just not HERE.  The favorite part of my day was going in with Peyton to get Drew, seeing him get so excited to see us, and watching him and Peyton together.  I miss that.  I don't start off sad, just resigned.  Peyton is usually awake first so the day is usually off to a flying start, and often with a laugh or a shake of my head at something Peyton is up to (thankfully).  We have been doing a daily Bible reading at breakfast, which often lately has had some mention of the Lord healing someone, so it always provides a good conversation and again, some more reflection.  After that there is so much time to fill in the day - I am not accustomed to having a preschool child around!!!  I have always had a baby!  In the last 4 years I have always had a diaper bag and a baby with baby's needs to meet.  Even though Peyton has always been around, before Drew he was a toddler.  During Drew he was a toddler/preschool child, but Drew had needs to be met and Peyton had to share his time.  Now it's just Peyton - what a difference!  
Peyton is so glad to have me around all the time that he wants me to participate in everything he does all day long.  I find myself battling inside to balance things because I know there are still things to be done, but I feel like I need to spend every waking minute with Peyton.  I am driving myself in circles with this!  I know he needs to learn to play on his own and that it's ok to spend some time doing the things I want/need to do, but given our experience over the last 5 months and the state of mind due to grieving I feel almost guilty if I don't spend my time with Peyton.  Oy!  I do enjoy life with a preschool child though I must admit.  He is very entertaining.  He is actually probably the best thing for Jordan and I as we go through this - though he misses Drew like crazy and often asks about him he only pauses for this reflection for a moment before resuming life with joy and energy.  He provides a good reminder that though we will always be aware of Drew, after giving grief it's place, life ought to carry on.  
Usually throughout the day there is something that triggers a strong memory of Drew, which I ought to be thankful for I think, but right now, it just makes me a bit sad.  I found a sheet the other day in my laundry pile that used to be on Drew's bed.  For a moment I thought it might smell like Drew and I desperately searched for his smell on that sheet.  It wasn't there, and I remembered we had washed it so his cousin could use it.  But as I was remembering this for a moment some part of my brain prompted the thought, "That's ok, I can go upstairs and smell him deeply."  It was like a blow to the gut as the rest of my brain quickly reminded me that I couldn't do that.  It's a very strange place to be.  There must be recesses in my mind that have yet to deal with this idea and the permanence of it.
By the time Daddy gets home from work in the evening, I am glad to have his presence around, and find strength and comfort in it.  Peyton and I have alot of fun together and as mentioned before, I can't go through the day moping, crying, or grieving, partly due to Peyton bringing joy, and partly because I don't want to upset Peyton.  (I learned this week that if Peyton sees me like that for long or if I talk about Drew alot during a day it is harder for him and he cries alot.  The one day like that this week every time he got hurt or was upset about something, it turned into a cry over Drew being gone.)
Evenings are the hardest, after Peyton has gone to bed.  Over the last couple months that was some of the most special time with Drew for both Jordan and I.  It is hard for many reasons, aside from it being time that was so special that now seems empty.  I can finally let my feelings show in the evening, and I am also much more emotional (on a normal day) in the evening.  This is a bad combination!  Poor Jordan!  Someone will need to take him out for a break once in a while!  This combination is the reason I haven't blogged this week.  If I have been even keel, I don't want to open the floodgates, and if I haven't been even keel, writing has felt like too much to do.
The grief process is strange.  I think the most frustrating realization right now apart from the obvious is that this is not just a stage that will last a week, or a month, or a year or two, but rather something that will be with us to some degree for our entire lives!  I am praying to our Lord that the pain and rawness will subside and that he will bring flowers out of the snow -- that he will help us not to live with bitterness or deep sadness over this long term, but that we can begin to glow with his radiance through the peace of knowing Drew is with him for as long as we live.  I know it will take time to get through the first part, and Jordan and I fully expect to grieve different lengths of time over this.  Both a mother and a father will grieve, but they will grieve very different things, and on different levels.
God has blessed us with a couple of relationships that help us cope.  There are a few families that we are in contact with that have been through or are going through similar situations that are providing so much support.  I am thankful for his hands reaching down through people.  
One of the things that gets me the quickest right now is how hard it is to retrieve memories of Drew.  If you aren't already the journaling type, please get some paper and a pen and write down those memories you think you will remember.  What I wouldn't give right now for a day by day account of what life was like with Drew and of all those special little things he did in a day that I can't seem to remember right now.  I wish I would have written even just two words on the calendar every day about the highlight of that day.  Two words takes such little time but what gems they can be!  I did journal while he was in the hospital but looking back over that I often wrote more about his condition on a given day than about what he was doing.  My heart aches over this.  As a result, I want to recruit your help.  If you have a memory about Drew, can you please send them our way?  We can have an online Drew party!  All we will need is the music!
I promised an update about our trip -  I hope you are not yet too tired of reading.  I will keep it short and provide more on the next post.  Saturday, October  11th we decided we needed to get away for some family time.  We had contemplated it for a while, but that morning we began to look into it diligently.  By Saturday mid-day we were booked for a trip to Mexico for a week.  Sunday morning we flew out!  We have never been so spontaneous our married life, but we are so glad we did it.  It was hard to believe we were actually going, but by the time we hit the beach Sunday afternoon it was reality and we were so glad to be there. 
If you are a Calgarian, you know what a "wonderful" summer we had this year - not ideal at all unless you like stormy and cool summers.  Aside from the weather issues, we were inside most of the summer, so we figured we were far short on our Vitamin D allowance.  We also wanted some time apart from any distractions to put our family back together.  It was good to get to spend such concentrated time together and being in the sun and warmth was very healing.  I could write much more about but want to post pictures too so I will put another post together about our trip.

Thank you to everyone who has sent cards and flowers, and for your prayers - we are so grateful for the thoughtfulness of everyone around us.  It helps so much to have this support!!  

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Life carries on

We will be away from our computer for a couple days as we work on reconnecting as a family.  We wanted to say thank you again to everyone who has shown us so much love.  I also just had to post these pictures.
My brother-in-law, James Mooney, took these pictures for us.  Check out the sunbeams in these pictures!  I feel like Drew is hugging me every time I look at them.

Peyton, Drew and I chose a kite for Daddy for his birthday and Peyton decided he wanted a shark one to fly at the same time.  I chose a butterfly for Drew and I.  Sunday after the memorial service this is how we spent our time.  Peyton has so much life about him, we can't sit and mourn for long.  What a blessing.

We'll write more soon.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My heart has a hole in it

We would like to share our little ray of sunshine with you.  Here is the slideshow my sister-in-law Nicola Mooney and our dear friend Jason Holmgren put together for us for Drew's memorial service.  If the above video does not work for you, cut and paste this link in:

It feels as though my Rhode Island-sized heart has a Texas-sized hole in it.  I miss my little Drew so much.  I have wandered all over the house looking for something, anything that might smell like him, but have come to the conclusion that a) there isn't anything, and b) it's probably a good thing that there isn't anything because it would be too painful.  I realized today that when you are drawn to one's smell, it is not just their smell - it's also the sense of being near them that is so touching.  
I am amazed at the peace that has surrounded us this week and the confidence that Drew is better now, but I am also amazed at how much I miss his presence.  I go from hurting to trying not to think back to hurting again, and then after moving through a cycle, I find I come out peaceful, if not a bit short on tears.  Jordan and I went to the mall today in search of something and I found that experience very taxing.  There was an abundance of moms and babies there, and more than that, moms with two small children.  Though I feel happiness for them, it causes me to reflect on our own situation.  Jordan and I sat down for lunch and he left for a moment.  After sitting with only my thoughts for a while I realized I was feeling sorry for myself, and it occurred to me that though grief is ok, I still have so much to be thankful for.  I don't have time to feel sorry for myself, and that is not a positive way to deal with grief!  Please pray for us that we are able to see the blessings in our life right now - I find it helps so much to find things to be thankful for!
Case in Point - last night I was missing Drew so much.  I had come to know him so well over the last 4.5 months - we had spent so much time together and I had learned to watch for his smallest nonverbal cue.  As I was putting Peyton to bed I felt so sad that Drew wasn't there too that I didn't enjoy the process of putting Peyton to bed, or the silliness and life that he exudes.  At about 10:30 p.m. last night, Peyton awoke with bad dreams (about the Loch Ness Monster of all things!).  When he first awoke, we did not know what had upset him so much.  He was carrying on and nearly incoherent.  After asking him yes/no questions we finally realized he had a bad dream, but both Jordan and I found ourselves worrying that he was sick before we drew that conclusion.  He went back to sleep after some snuggling, and I learned a lesson I hope I won't soon forget.  The thought of him being sick, losing him, or having to watch him suffer hurt so much that I realized how much I loved him!  I have let life happen this summer and have not intentionally parented him.  I need to learn to enjoy him again, and find out who HE really is.  Not who I think he is, but who he thinks he is.  He's nearly 4 and capable enough of communicating that, I just need to stop to watch him close enough to see it.  Lessons learned last night: Live in the moment.  Be thankful.  Parent intentionally.  And most importantly, let him show me who he is - stop long enough to see it.  It was an amazing day with him today, and already I feel so much more connected with him.  Here's what I found out today - Peyton's favorites: Color - DARK blue; Food - psketti noodles; Shirt - Mickey Mouse shirt; Game - Go Fish; Friend - Eli; Place to go - Eli's house; Thing to sleep with - Mommy; Thing to do in a day - play with Mommy; Number - 3.  I know it probably was just favorites of the moment, but it amazed me that he so clearly knew what he liked. 

Please continue to pray for our family - we are still waiting for test results from Drew's tests (we could be waiting for months still).  The results could determine whether or not we are able to have any more children, and if it could impact any of our other family members.  Please pray we will get a definitive diagnosis and that it will not have any impact on anyone apart from Drew.  Thank you so much for your continued prayers - really.  They are making a difference. 

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Beyond words...

We are absolutely overwhelmed (OVERWHELMED!) by the amazing outpouring of love we witnessed yesterday!  There is nothing we can possibly say to describe how much it meant to us to see everyone that was able to participate in our celebration of Drew yesterday.  I don't think we have ever felt the depth of emotions and witnessed so much love in one place!  We could never say thank you enough to everyone who attended, or to those who supported us from a distance yesterday.  Jordan and I were so surrounded in peace yesterday - I wasn't sure how the day would proceed but never once were we overwhelmed by grief.  We were however overwhelmed by an amazing awareness of God's goodness and a contentment that Drew is so much better now.  Oh, my heart will ache and does even at this moment, but I know we will never be apart from the love of God, and that in spite of time and distance, Drew will always be a special part of our lives.  
We have to say thank you to everyone who came out yesterday - "thank you" feels inadequate.  As unaware of it as we were at the time, we later realized some had waited in line to express their care and concern for over an hour!  How could people care this much?  We will never forget that, and again, there is no way to thank everyone enough.  Thank you also to everyone who helped make that day so meaningful.  Jason and Nicola, that video that so wonderfully portrayed the joy our little Drew provided was incredible.  To everyone who brought food for the reception - each plate represented love and support to us - we could not believe how much was there!  Kathy and Melissa - thank you for helping the day run so smoothly - you must have hearts so large to do the job you do.  To our immediate families, thank you - we love you so much.  You have no idea the difference you have made.  To our family and friends that came from out of town, thank you for communicating your love to us this way.  
To the nurses and hospital staff - we don't even know where to begin!  It makes me cry just thinking about how many of you were there to support us!!!  You all are beyond amazing.  You do so much more than your "jobs"!  If you have made such a difference in our lives, I can only imagine the number of people you must touch.  To Melanie and Jane especially, thank you for support.  To all the doctors involved over the last couple weeks, we appreciate the role you played in helping Drew and our family.  We know you always had Drew's best interest in mind - thank you for working so diligently with us to provide him the best care possible.  We especially want to thank Dr. Kirton who was Drew's primary doctor and neurologist.  Dr. Kirton went far above and beyond the call of duty - we could not possibly say thank you enough.  We will have to find a way to stay in touch with all those who cared for Drew - it feels like a part of our lives is missing without you all around.  Thank you.
We mentioned in the last post that if you were interested in making a donation in memory of Drew we would include that information.  Please consider: Alberta Children's Hospital : Metabolic Disease Program - Mitochondrial Research. It is and will be our prayer that some answers will be found that can help others.
We will be trying to post the slide show from Drew's memorial service on the blog in the next day or two.