Friday, October 26, 2012

swiss cheese

 this day...
I laughed really hard at Mike 
after the Oral Surgeon 
pulled his wisdom teeth out...
Did you ever see the video
David after the dentist?
It was kinda like that-
Except he wasn't being very nice :)
this day I sighed......
as Aidan went off to school
Public school
For the first time in his life

 Thankfully, his first day, 
happened to be the same day 
that Mike was having his teeth pulled, 
so, we both were able to 
drive him to school
 the poor dogs wondered 
where he was all day
they were waiting for him 
to get off of the bus

 He greeted them 
they greeted him
life was good
until ....
he realized I had the camera :)
Put the camera away!
(said in a super growly voice)

oh my :(
I don't like puberty
or teen angst
or talk-backers
or angry eyebrows
not one bit.

I have had several people
inform me that 
I must be doing a good job
as a parent ....
if my son is telling me
that he hates me.

I don't like this period of life right now
not one bit.
I was never like that....
Was I Ma?
 And according to his mother,
Mike D. was a perfect angel ...
until he met me:)
poor guy got corrupted
who are those rebellious teens? 
Oh my
We still have matching rolls:)
they are just much larger now....
 Well...I guess Aidan does not hate me that much....
since I found this secret message
written on the mailbox

darkness in the sky
the sun awakening the day...
the morning dew leftovers...
waiting for the bus
 love for his family
 (that includes me!)
just bubbles out of him
and onto the mailbox :)
I have been crying quite a bit lately
the other day,
I actually pulled a muscle laughing

I have been all alone
I needed to talk to my dad one day...
I wanted him to tell me what I was good at
and bad at
and what I should do with my life
I wanted him to give me
 those directions and advice
He was always so good at giving....
but never following....
I felt so lost
so I went for a drive....
I just wanted to sit and talk with my Daddy
like we used to do
before all the mess..
well.... within the mess..
we were a mess
but there were 
a lot of good times
in the midst of it all
before he died...
our relationship had evolved
it was simple for us...
we talked,
we shared a meal
we laughed
we cried
we sighed
I know that going to someones grave...
I am not going to see them
They are not there...
well their spirit is not there...
and a lot of people have their opinions 
and doctrines and theories
about "visiting" graves
and ya know what...
I don't give a hoot about what they think...

Losing my dad was horrible....
we just started to live
we just started to heal
we just started to really love 
and understand one another
and be friends...

I wanted to see him grow old
and I wanted him to see Aidan and Calli grow
and I wanted to have more time
I feel robbed...

so on this day,
I went to talk to God, 
and my Dad, 
and I told my Daddy...
how mad I was at him
for leaving me
for being a genius
for being so stupid 
how much I really really
needed him
how very sad I was
that he was not around
for most of my life....
How I really wanted him to stay
and I told him that...
but he was dead.

Did I ever tell him when he was alive....
how very very much I needed him
how very very much I wanted to hear his Jewish jokes
and hear him sing more
and how all that mess was terrible 
but somewhat normalish....

As I sat at that grave,
 4 hawks flew above me
I only was able to capture one at a time
they were perching 
and flying
and screeching at me
have you ever seen 4 hawks together?

in some way..
I felt like God sent those 4 hawks to me
to remind me...
that My dad
Mike's dad,
 Mike's mom
our precious daughter, Calli
are with Him
and they are free
and they are soaring
and it comforted me
I got a call last week...
Calli's headstone came.
I drove over right away
and it was raining...
Each month
on the 4th
When I lay out flowers
over her whole grave...
It is always raining
I love the rain
This day.....
something groaned inside of me
I realized how deep
how wide
how monstrous
the cavern inside of me was
people come....
and they leave feathers
and flowers
and pine cones
and ribbons
and their love...
that makes me feel better
to know you are thinking of her too
that I am not alone
in my missing her...
Do you miss her?
Why don't you ever talk about her?
I guess for me,
It is hard to let go of her physical body
I know her spirit is in heaven,
I know she is happy with Jesus
and my dad
and Linda and Mark,
but still...

As a mother, who birthed and nursed my baby...
and watched her grow into 
the vivacious and strong little girl she was
and watched as she
 blossomed into the poised and 
powerful flower of a young woman that she was...
and watched as she faded
but never let go 
of her dignity
and courage...
and beauty....
As her mother,
It is hard to let go of her body
her physical self...
My spirit knows the truth 
her spirit is
very much alive in Heaven...
but my brain
is a very hard obstacle to get over

my brain reminds me
that my Calli's body
 is under the ground
in a box
covered in dirt
and I feel guilty
and mad
and a pain literally 
shoots through my heart
and into the pit of my soul
 So I go
and I bring her flowers....
and I talk to the sky
and it rains
and somehow
 I don't feel as guilty
for leaving her body there...
for walking away from it...

Please don't tell me that
 she is happy and in Heaven

I do know that
and I believe that.... 
Please don't remind me that
she would want me to be happy
It does not really help at all.

If you are a Christian, 
Please stop telling me that Christians 
are not supposed to mourn and grieve
for the death of another Christian
Because I do fiercely...
and I am Christian.

Please stop telling me that
 If I visit my child's grave...
 I cannot possibly have faith

Jesus is the author and finisher of my faith
He's given to me the amount of faith
He thinks I should have...
As I study His word, He gives me more...

When you speak these words...
your words...
your interpretations...
when you say things like....

""She was not healed, because she lacked faith, "
"you lacked faith, "
"you did not believe enough, "
"she sinned, "
"you sinned..."
"It was His will for her to die,"
 "It was not His will for her to die..."
"He's got a plan for a Hope and a future..."
"You are selfish for mourning..."
"You are having a pity party... "
"You should only mourn for the right reasons and 
her going to Heaven is not one of them..."
"Faith removes your self-pity- you need more faith"
"You are not fit for the Kingdom of God, if you mourn for her death"
"God cannot use you if you are depressed..."

When you say these things....
you are building walls so high 
so thick
all around me...
just like Babel

and you discourage me
and you confuse me
and then I feel lost
and alone
and utterly 
utterly like....
Swiss cheese

there are holes
all throughout me....

people told me to get a job,
go to school
don't be alone
keep busy..

So, I got a job
at my old office...
and I was really good at it
and felt good doing it
for about a day...
It just hit me
and I  kept crying
and I failed miserable at faking it
and then I could not handle going back....
Thank God for a loving and understanding boss
who is giving me all the time I need
and calling to check up on me :)

I am taking a pottery class,
and I am making things with my hands
and it feels good

I am going to paint my sister's bedroom
and maybe help a dear friend
choose the colors of her heart
for her beautiful home....

I was a mom.
I loved my job.
I loved every second
I was priveledged to spend
with Calli and Aidan.
Now they are gone...
She is in Heaven
and he is at school
and I am still a mom...
but I don't feel like it anymore...

So, I am embracing my grief
whole-heartedly feeling
every square mm of it.
I can't shove it away
it just pummels its way out of me
at all the wrong moments
I cry at the grocery store
at the doctor's
at the coffee shop
and everywhere...
and that is ok.
If you ask how I am
I'll tell you I am terrible
I can't hide it
I don't like masks
I'll tell every soul
I know about
My Calli

the depths of despair
 are not too far for God to reach me....
He is with me always...
Even in the valley...
Even in the shadow of death....

This is my time to grieve and mourn 
and cry and lay in bed all day some days
and go out and be normal and laugh other days...
There is a time to mourn
and a time to dance....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

CHOP's Four Seasons Parkway Run & Walk

 I really wanted to include butterflies....
they represent so much to me....
So I made hair clips and pins :)
Every single girl had a butterfly in her hair, 
and every single guy had a butterfly on his shirt

 get ready
 get set

Calli was smiling down on her Daddy
He really needed it 
We all need the sunshine

We are so proud of team Ordinary Oddballs
They raised over $3500 for Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Cancer Center.

The sun was shining down on us....
It was a very difficult day...
Very emotional and just a few days shy of 
3 months since our sweet  Calli went to Heaven.
The people who came to walk, or run, 
the people who donated 
in the love and memory of Calli, 
showed us again, how much they love and support, 
not just us, but this cause, these children.

Mike, Aidan and I are very proud of the team and and we want to say
Thank You 
Glenda Leatherman, Ben Leatherman, Trey Leatherman, Levi Leatherman,  Lucianna Alderfer, Erin Rasnake, Timothy Court, Lori Derstine, Amanda Derstine, Alyssa Derstine, Chase, Sheila Schiedel, Julie Carter, Doc Carter, Alison Dittmar, Joseph Dittmar, Sandy McDermott, Ellen Nulf, Laura Kozdra,  Barbara Smith, Daniel Smith, Tom Pace, Rachel Smith, Jennifer Ghazanfari, Shannon Horbonis, Dominick Feralio,  Lorina Hunsberger, Travis Hunsberger,  Mysel Gomez-Landis, Mickey Gomez, Elijah Landis, Elanah Landis, Elicean Landis, Belyse Landis, Melanie Anders, Bernadette Denolf,  and Alison Seiler.

Later that day, we went to see the Dead Sea Scrolls 
at The Franklin Institute
  I cried a lot
I am not sure what it was...
maybe the fact that the very words of God from over 2000 years ago, 
were staring at me

Maybe it was the woman who asked me
 who they were writing about 
in one of the psalms on display...
I thought she was joking...
she did not know..
that when they were saying
 "You formed the earth.."
 they were talking about God.
we talked for a bit
and she asked...
if .maybe she should start reading the Bible
I put my hand on her shoulder...
and told her it was worth it...

and then I cried...

The next room I entered, 
I heard the most angelic voices singing in Hebrew
 I don't know what they were singing...
but it moved me deeply
it was a balm to my heart...

After the Franklin Institute,
We had a memorial service to go to at CHOP
remembering and honoring 
the life of the children 
who had died since January
There were too many.....

It was our first time back at CHOP
since the last time....
the last time I took my Calli through those doors...
the last time she came in smiling
and she left silently fading....
somewhere between this world and Heaven....

I was ok, until there were no spots left in the parking garage
and I had to keep going down
down to  B level parking

that was our level

I parked as far away as I possibly could...
from our regular handicapped spot.
as I walked past it
I stood still
for a moment
lost in the empty spot.
I closed my eyes
and I saw her there....
I miss getting her in and out of the car- 
I miss those wonderful and hearty 
bonus hugs that I got every day
as God gave me the strength
to lift her in and out 
of her wheelchair 
going up to the elevators, 
Aidan said, "I have this hospital memorized..."
and he does
 As we traveled down the halls 
and past the Oncology unit,
memories flooded my mind
I saw her walking, 
I saw her wheeling
I saw her in hospital beds
and MRI machines
I saw her getting poked and drugged
I saw her puking and laughing
I saw her crying and coloring...
and becoming unrecognizable
but becoming 
the most fragrant and beautiful
Then we passed the window...
the last window my daughter looked out of 
before her life faded.
This was the room...
where she last spoke to me
where for the last time I would ever hear her say
This was the last place she hugged me
the last place I watched my sweet love
try to live...
and eat..
and drink...
and talk to me....
and the last place
her big beautiful plushy lips 
kissed me back...
This was the last time I heard her voice
saying "I want Daddy."
 This was the place ...
where she tried so hard
and gave me her last smile
This was the last place she spoke.
the last words she said...
"Take me home, I just want to go home."
 The she faded away.... 
 What I would not give
to go back to that last day
and tell her so much more than I did...
so much more...
in those last moments...
tell her how proud I am to be her mom
How I never regretted having her
how my life with her
has meant more than anything 
how she "got" me more than anyone
she loved me more than anyone
How her life...
the years spent with her
were the best years of my life.
I would have held her longer
kissed her more
stroked her hair and twirled it on my finger
Freezing time....
As we walked down the main stairs,
and past the cafeteria and bathrooms,
many more memories flooded my mind...
my heart...
my soul ached....

As we approached the Auditorium, 
and turned the corner
I saw her...

I believe it hit us all
at the same time
like a ton of bricks...
 in the depths of our stomachs

In the midst of many faces, 
I saw only one 

There was my sweet Calli's picture
on display for all to see...
Candles all around her face...
Butterfly balloons above

My child was dead. 

The rest of the day was a blur
I think that day...
a flood of epic proportions 
was released
out of me

The tears gushed
from the bowels of my soul

The service....
It was poetry
It was music
It was stories,
It was names and pictures...
too too many names...

Each person who took part
playing a bongo, or a violin, 
a cello, or keyboard
a person singing,
calling their names...
Each person was a doctor, or a nurse, 
a custodian, or hospital worker, 
our beloved music and art therapists 
all took part honoring our child,
It was personal.

One of the doctors read this...
"I know Your names"
author unknown

I know your names
You were here for hours
Too young to die

Too young to leave your parents
Who will never be the same
Your names are written
In their lives forever

They will remember your birthdays, with
"If only" and "Would have beens"
They will count each year
And measure you by your friends 
They will mourn your graduations...
Ball games...

They will hold you in their dreams
They will cradle your teddies
And sleep with your blankets
They will yearn for the scent of you...
Long gone from your clothes

They will walk into your darkened rooms 
And hope that tonight ....
You will be there
They fear they may forget your face...
Your smile...
Your voice...

They will hold onto the grief that 
Binds their love to you
They will remember the insidious unknowns
That stole your breath
stopped your beating heart

They will relive your last days...
Last touches...
Last breaths...
And rewind them again and again until
They are tight in their mind's eyes

I weep for your mother's
Your Father's
Your Siblings,
Your Grandparents, 
Your friends,
And all those who 
Will never know you

And when time 
Silences the voice of solace
I will say your name
And remember
At the end of the service...
My mom and sister gasped in unbelief 
as the musicians started strumming the chords....
And they began to play the song...
the very song
Calli and I always danced to together
it was our song.
I shoved my face into Mikes arm
and I wept so thankfully
so bitterly
So longingly
for my Calli Mae... 

It was a message...from my sweets...