Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Life at Six Weeks

Having passed the six week point on Saturday morning, I thought I'd share some new thoughts on this journey of grief and loss since it's been a couple weeks since I last wrote.

First, I have to say as the title suggests, my life right now seems to be marked my varying levels of stupidity.  I feel stupid.  All the time.

* I leave the room with a purpose.  I take a few steps and eventually give up and go back to what I was doing because I have no clue for what purpose I was leaving the room.

* I get to the room I was heading to and suddenly it doesn't make sense.  Why did I go in there at all?  I look around as if to gain some wisdom by the furniture and fixtures in the room.  Invariably, I will depart without a clue.  If I'm lucky, somewhere on the way back to where I came from, something will click.  Not necessarily the thing...but enough to get me to go back and ponder some more.  Whether I'm successful in my endeavor or not is anyone's guess.

* I have found that the best place for leftover hotdogs are actually in the refrigerator, and not the dishwasher where the almost went the other night.  Similarly, milk belongs in the bowl of cereal, not the bowl of sugar.  Another near miss there.

* My keys.  Seriously needing a homing device on these things!

* I often put something down with the intention of coming right back to it only to find out it's just gone.  Gone.  Not to be seen again for hours or even days.

* I have piles of emails, thank yous, and other various things to get to and my brain just feels fried.  When I do write, I'm frustrated by my super horrible scrawl that has developed over the years.

* I am still so tired.  I had started on a low dose Ambien which was then switched to a higher dose.  I immediately felt a difference.  Although I still wasn't making it all the way through the night.  Now, I can't get to sleep even with the higher dose Ambien, so here I sit writing a post at 1:48 am when I should have been asleep a few hours or so ago.  Also note, that while I am unable to sleep, my body has reacted to the medicine, so I'm a stumbling fool if I try to get up for any reason.  Bear that in mind as you read!

* Emotions still come in waves as I wrote once before.  I imagine it will be like that for some time.

* I am having a really hard time thinking of things "down the road".  I am living and beign and existing in today.  All I know about tomorrow, next week, next month, and so on will come, God willing - but I am incapable of formulating thoughts or plans about things that are too far out right now.  And by "too far out", I might even mean 6 hours from now on some days.

We began a new series at church this past weekend.  The same series was done last summer.  It's called "At The Movies".  Last year it was 4 movies.  This year it's 5 different movies.  5 weeks.  5 messages pulling biblical truths out of each movie.  This weekend it was week 1 - Here Comes The Boom staring Kevin James, Salma Hayek, and Henry Winkler among others.  Hilarious movie, by the way, if you haven't seen it. Watch it - there are so many things that could have been pulled from that movie to create a sermon.  {Note, we aren't watching the movie in church - just a few clips to accompany the sermon.}  However, the take the pastor took on the movie was something I hadn't thought of in that way.  Not exactly.  I didn't expect to cry during a sermon about that movie.

What was the truth pulled out?  Essentially it was that every man needs a cause bigger than himself to live for / fight for.  As the message went on, all I could think of was Peyton.  Peyton was my big cause.  While I had a husband and another daughter who we tried to maintain some semblance of "normal family life" with, I had a 24/7 cause in Peyton.  She was a "cause" from day one.  She was a "cause" that continued to become a bigger and bigger cause until 11 days before her 7th birthday when she passed away.

Unless you have been a caregiver to a medically fragile and special needs child or even to an aging parent or grandparent or other adult, I don't think there's any way to accurately describe the level of care given to this person.  You have to have lived it.  It was the life God entrusted us with.  It was not a burden in the sense that we felt like "why us" or "what did we ever to do deserve this".  Those statements couldn't be farther from how we felt.  You can, however, be charged with an assignment from God which is a difficult one.  It might even wind up being the most difficult and challenging part of your life.  It might be short-term.  It might go on for almost 7 years.  It might even go on for decades.  You accept it though - graciously - as your God-given assignment for your life.  For such a time as this was I placed on early - to be a part of the process of raising a little girl through her short life, which would include multiple health issues, 20+ surgeries, prescriptions beyond number, limitations I could never imagine, and needs which stretched me well out of my comfort zone, but which I tended to with as much grace as I could because I was her mother and she depended on me.

My cause.

My life.

The message went on about how some things are just worth fighting for - the cause that is bigger than yourself, the cause that shouldn't be shelved because you're uncomfortable with it, the cause that needs to be put out there to the world, and so on.  We know that our cause will meet resistance when we put it out there.  The idea of a band of brothers being so key was mentioned.  It is true.  Two are stronger than one.  Many more together are even stronger.  But I was feeling lost by this point.

I got teary eyed as soon as it was mentioned that every man needs a cause worth fighting for - a cause bigger than himself.  Yes I have Ron and Moira.  But my "cause" was the nearly 7 years of championing the cause of Peyton.  My cause is gone and the everyday stuff is over.  Our phone is deathly silent - to the point where I've thought it was broken.  It shows that all the calls we ever got, for the most part, were related to her.  Connections with people we once saw regularly are severed by the fact that she is no longer present.

I know that Peyton's legacy must go on.  I believe she is a very unique and special child by nature of who she was.  Limitations and illnesses and all she was challenged with throughout her life.  I believe she affected far more people than we could ever possibly know, and it makes me happy to think that someone's life may have been deeply altered for the better because of her.  I know mine was!

But I don't know what my cause is right now.  I'm lost.  I am lost with out that cause being so ever-present.  Yes, reconnecting with Ron and Moira is a part of what is happening now.  That is extremely important.  We will be fine.  This all will take time.  But I feel like I am supposed to have a personal "cause" bigger than myself and I don't know what that is now.

How do I find my cause?  When is too soon to start working on that cause?  I know I have to give myself some time and space now, but it would be nice to know what big thing is out there waiting.  What is it that's out there ahead in my life that's bigger than me that I can work for and even fight for if I have to to make a difference in this world?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

One Month

At 6:12 am on Saturday, May 4th, Peyton slipped from our arms into the arms of her heavenly Father.  One month ago today.  How it is even possible that a month has passed is beyond me.  Yet at the same time, it seems so long ago.

In just under 5 weeks we have experienced extreme heartbreak for the loss of our daughter, yet relief that her suffering in this world is no more.  We have experienced the influx of family and friends visiting for what was an incredibly beautiful celebration of Peyton's life.  We also said our goodbyes to these people as they journeyed back home again.  The day after Peyton passed, I walked in to our church for Sunday service for the first time in over 40 days, comforted by being able to be physically present there once again.  We very quickly experienced the first Mother's Day minus another precious child - three quarters of my children no longer with me.  We then went through Peyton's seventh birthday without her here with us.  We also journeyed into the month of June - the first month in seven years where Peyton was not physically present.  I don't know why that is so hard for me.  So many "firsts" in such a short amount of time.

I don't question "why" this had to happen because we always knew that Peyton's time with us would be short.  We didn't know how short.  Each day we had with her was a blessing.  I believe that God allowed us to care for her for the perfect amount of time.  His perfect amount.  If it were up to me, she'd have lived a lot longer. But, really and truly, to have wished her a longer life would have been cruel in the condition she was in.  I've said over and over that my heart rejoices in the fact that she was made whole and is in her new body which can do everything it meant to do, unlike her earthly body.  To look at me as I write this, you would not know the joy that comes from knowing that based on the overflow of tears streaming down my face.  Just as my heart rejoices, it also aches with longing to see her.  To touch her.  To make her laugh or smile.  To hold her without being afraid of breaking her.  How I wish I could have been holding her at the end, but to do so would not have been comfortable for her.  I would never have wished to cause her any undue comfort - especially not to benefit myself and my desire to hold her one last time.  Yet, if having her here again right now would mean having her in that same sick, broken body - then there is no way I would wish that on her.

And so we grieve.  Each day is different.  And it's different for each of us.  It hits us at different times and in different ways.  We get through those waves of grief and we keep pushing forward.  There are good times, yes.  Some smiles and laughter even.  Sometimes funny things aren't funny.  Other times, "normal" things in life seem suddenly stressful and overwhelming.  I have times where I just need my space.  I don't know if that's right or wrong, but it's what I need sometimes.

Lately, I have been working through my own physical issues.  I've set up a doctor appointment for my annual visit {oh joy!}.  I need to be sure to keep on top of that.  I began going to my chiropractor once again after a long hiatus.  Even my dental work has fallen by the wayside.  I have needed some particular work done for probably 2 years now  It's finally getting done this morning.  There will be more to come, but this particular issue is that far behind schedule in being taken care of.  My stress causes me to grind my teeth and essentially caused some "earthquake" type activity in a few of my teeth from the pressure of grinding my teeth so badly.  Then there's the issue of rest.  I'm not getting it.  I am sleeping so poorly these days.  I contacted my doctor about that again.  I personally think my issue goes beyond needing something to help me sleep.  I'd like to get a sleep study done to see if there's more to my problems than just an inability to fall and stay asleep.  Bit by bit, I'm working through all of these things.

I'm still feeling overwhelmed with what all will have to be done in terms of Peyton's room and all her things, but it's too much to handle right now. I've made little tiny bits of progress here and there.  Not so much that you'd notice if you walked in, but I know what's been done, and small though it may be, feels like a huge accomplishment to me.

Beyond the figuring out what to do with "things", there's the figuring out of "me".  I feel a little lost - like I'm not sure who I am right now without being that caregiver.  Yes, I am a wife and a mother and we are working on spending more time as a family now - all of those are good things to work on.  But my identity was so tied up in Peyton's every single day for years and now that she isn't here, neither is that identity.  Yes, I entertain thoughts of returning to school to become a nurse but, first, it's not the right time right now.  Second, it's not free.  Third, there's a wait list - and that makes me wonder just how soon I might need to act on things just to get my name on a list so I can start school in a couple years.  Then there's the part of me lacking in self-confidence who can't stand going places without someone I know - how would that Sarah even make it through?!  Forget the fact that the entire class would likely be of an age where they could technically be my children!  There's a lot to consider.  Not today...but someday.

Perhaps all the overwhelming thoughts and worries are contributing to my seeming lack of a brain lately.  I suppose it is good exercise to run up and down the stairs with a purpose, only to forget what that purpose was as soon as I get to the room I only think I'm supposed to have gone to...that time.  Yes, it is possible to check a single pants pocket at least a dozen times and not find the key that was in there until hours later when I threw the pants in to laundry and the key fell right out of said pocket.  Clothes must be in the washing machine in order to be washed.  The same is true for the dryer.  Contact lens solution doesn't belong in the shower.  The first place I look for my keys shouldn't be the refrigerator.  In order to have a conversation with someone, all the facts must come out - not just some of the facts, causing your listener to wonder what's missing from the conversation {unless of course that person is Ron - he's pretty sharp and can almost always fill in the blanks of my cryptic conversations}.  I know for a fact that these behaviors can be blamed on grieving a loss.  Let's just go with that, ok?!

Matthew 11:28

New International Version (NIV)
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.