What is this?

What is this? I don't really know, other then a continuation of my updates and writings that I was sharing previously on Caringbridge of this journey through cancer and now widowhood and single parenting.

Maybe it won't end up being anything at all, or maybe it will be a glimpse into my heart, my life, my current situation, my testimony.

Whatever it becomes, I am touched that you are interested.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

5 month / 10 week Update

Well, I made it through the first holiday.  In a way it was just another day. They all hurt without Brandon.

I'm glad Thanksgiving came first.  It's kinda like a baby-step into the holiday that's really going to hurt.  Brandon didn't care much about Thanksgiving, but oh how he loved Christmas.  He didn't really like turkey or ham or most of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes.  So it makes me really glad that last year I made a special beef tenderloin for him, hoping that it would become a new tradition, something for him to look forward to on Thanksgiving.  Who wouldn't want steak, mashed potatoes and brownies as tradition?!  And he did love it.  I'm so glad he had it that way once.

I sat in his seat at the table, just as I sleep on his side of the bed and sit on his spot on the sofa; because I can not bare to see these spaces without him.

My friend selflessly came from Florida to spend Thanksgiving in Colorado with me, sacrificing a holiday with her own out of state family.  How blessed am I?  Her presence was so needed this first time.  Additionally, countless friends extended an invitation for Aria and I to join them with their families for dinner.  I am so grateful that so many people care so much for me, making sure I do not feel alone or forgotten.

This was also Aria's first Thanksgiving.  Not that she really cared - milk is milk is milk, right? :)  But I put her in a cute little pumpkin top, and she sat in her swing as we all ate at my in-law's.

So far, the pamphlets are right - this gets harder, not easier.  Not that I expect to already be healing, more that it's hard to imagine that the pain continually gets worse and worse when it is already unbearable.  Yet it does.  As a dear friend of mine put it, "Ironically, the brain is wired to protect us from traumatic events. You're stuck in the weird grey that exists between your brain trying to protect you and it giving you passage to start healing."  And day by day my brain allows me to feel, process and attempt to accept this terrible reality.

I have started going to grief counseling.  I hope to make it a weekly occurrence once I get a firm child care schedule set.  It helps to be able to share the weird, random, and crazy thoughts and happenings with someone who can tell you that it's normal, and give advise on how to reconcile it in your head.

It's nice to know that loosing my car in nearly every parking lot is very normal for bereavement.  Suddenly not knowing where I am, even in familiar places, is nothing to stress over.  Forgetfulness, numbness, nightmares, only remembering the traumatic images - all normal right now.

I also have 2 widow support groups that I am becoming involved with.  So far, I'm the youngest in attendance, but I more or less expected that.  I look forward to getting to know the others.  My church once explained how we should go through life with one hand reaching ahead of us, holding on to those who have gone before us; and one hand extended behind, leading for those who will follow us.  Right now I really need those ahead of me, to give me hope that I will make it through this.  And someday I truly hope to be that for someone else who walks this difficult path.

This week and next week I am trying out some different local MOPS groups as well.  I really hope to find some fellowship with other moms in my neighborhood, and hopefully get some trusted referrals for part time in-home day cares or nannies.

So, yeah, I guess I would agree - I am an 'active' griever.  :) I need to stay busy.

And that leads me to the Aria part of the update!  She keeps me VERY busy.  Oh what a godsend she is.  I look at her and I just can not believe she is mine.  I watch her and have just the slightest understanding now how God loves His children so much.  And I see the special place in His heart that He has for young children.  Their innocence, their delight in learning, their complete reliance on their provider.

Maybe that last part is the key.  Complete reliance and helplessness.  Throwing up your hands and admitting that we need Him in every way.  I can say that I have never in my life completely surrendered everything to God and relied on Him to meet my every need, like an infant, until this season.  And allowing myself to trust Him, no matter what, has been a freeing experience.  It has not been easy, but I trust that He is sovereign, always.  Right now my eyes are on Heaven.  This life is my task, and Heaven is my accomplishment and reward.

Anyhow, back to Miss Aria.  She is just such a great baby.  Sleeping well, nursing well, and just too darn cute.  I think she may be starting to teethe. (Eeeek!)  I was hoping that wouldn't happen for a couple more months, but oh well.  I still think she is going to be an early walker and late talker.  She doesn't spend much time babbling, but always wants to be on the move.

She is the light of my life, my little side-kick and she and I will get through this together.

One day at a time, one tear at a time, one holiday at a time.

But with the presence of family and friends, and the prayers for strength and peace from so many-we made it through. Not without battle wounds, or without a tremendous sense of loss. But with God's promises held tightly in our white knuckled hands, we made it through.

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