Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Remembering Laurie today and every day...

Friday, March 05, 2010

An unexpected gift on the 5 year anniversary...

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

I still miss this face so much.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Journey, the hope...

Last blog was written as Pete and I were beginning a new phase of our marriage, thankfully, a great phase. We were able to take a getaway, get-reacquainted vacation to FL where we stayed with wonderful friends who nurtured us. We revisited Disney World where we had gone on our honeymoon. How appropriate was that! And then we returned to IL to start the countdown to Kristin's wedding.

I can not pretend there were not hard times in the planning and executing many details, wishing, knowing that Laurie should have been here. She would have been such a vital part. Kristin did something very wonderful...she named Laurie her Maid of Honor, in memorium. She put a wonderful tribute in their wedding knot website, included Laurie on the wedding program. During the actual ceremony, I was fine. It was the picture taking and the party after that led to occasional pangs of missing Laur. The one thing I had determined in my mind early on was that being wistful or meloncholy about Laurie was not going to happen to dampen anyone else's spirit. The plans, the day, were about Kristin, beautiful Kristin and of course, her new husband, Sean. I think that was accomplished.

Kristin asked me in the early planning stages if I could be responsible for doing the flowers, red roses, for the entire wedding. I love this kind of stuff and could not have been happier, securing vases, feathers, ribbons, wire, helpers to pull everything off. Dear wonderful friends and family made themselves available to prepare 400 roses that arrived from Ecuador on Wednesday, Feb. 17th. Thursday night 37 table centerpieces and 12 bouquets were created and by Karen, Karen and Lisa while we were at the rehearsal. How awesome to come back home and see all they had done in love for us. And 7:45 AM the morning of the wedding, wonderful Karen P. showed up to learn how to make 13 boutonieres, complete with special black and white pin feather, fancy coordinated ribbon and green floral tissue. Maya, the cherubic flower girl was right there helping too. I saved making Kristin's bouquet for me to do...

A small sterling silver flip flop charm, a little rhinestone "L" on a silver heart charm and a silver fleur de Lis charm were wired into the bouquet with out really being visible, just there...probably 25 to 30 roses created the bouquet Kristin said was exactly right. All aspects of the wedding, to me at least, seemed perfect. Kristin could not have been any more beautiful, Pete could not have been any prouder as FOB, father of the bride. Many, many wonderful memories were created...just missing Laurie the only missing piece.

And today, wedding let down has settled in and Pete patiently listened as I tried to express where I was. I think even in those moments Pete began praying for me. It was as I drove today, God showed up to soothe me. The random order of the songs on my CD player in the car spoke to me. Never Give Up by David Crowder was first, Rascal Flats' Beautiful Song, started the tears, only for me to spy the car behind me, a black Jeep. Every song had meaning and again God went out of His way to arrange black Jeep, after black Jeep at just the right moment. I have to smile when this happens. It is NOT random, it is specific to me and God knows it. I love that about God. He shares my sadness and then brings to my mind the reason I am so lucky to have had Laurie for 20 years. To not have had her would have been so much worse, to have missed that bright, shining smile; to not have had a tape filled with her singing worship songs, to not have had beautiful memories...

Monday, December 07, 2009

39 nine days ago...

Thirty nine days ago Pete and I hit a big wall. I had a sinking feeling our marriage could be over. A few trusted friends and family members knew and I believe they went into ultimate prayer mode.

Meeting with our old counselor who we went to when Laurie first died and meeting with one of our most dear friend couples got us upright. We were steered to a book and concept "Love and Respect" and began to dig in. I have had a huge heart change and so has Pete. Now we are love.

We are almost back in a honeymoon stage. God has led us through some deep waters and we are resting comfortably in His arms, thanking him for building us into a stonger than ever couple. I am grateful beyond words.

This holiday season gives me more reasons than ever to appreciate the birth of His Son, Jesus!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Wow! 85% don't make it?

I just sneezed eight times . What does that mean? And what does the statistic that 85 % of marriages that sustain the loss of a child, don't make it, mean?

I am trying to field a curve ball right now. Will you pray?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Four and a half years...

Though I don't blog much anymore, I still see this as my place to process my emotions and the grief journey. I still participate as a child loss small group leader at Grief Support at Willow Creek. However, we have been off for the summer and I am feeling the need to get back.

Through this summer, I attended the wake of a young girl who died by suicide, I participated in the Overnight walk, fundraiser for suicide prevention and heard of several other suicides. I still shake myself once in a while and have to tell myself, yes, Laurie really died. She really took her own life. As we took part in weddings this summer, I often thought Laurie should be here, where is she? Isn't that crazy that after four and a half years (exactly on Sept 2nd.) I still cannot believe it sometimes that I don't have that funny, beautiful girl here with me?

Today as I drove, I welled up thinking of her, missing her. Does a mom ever get over the loss of a child? I don't think so. Sure, the sharp gnawing pain subsides. It's when I see photos of her friends on Facebook and scan those faces, she's not smiling back. When Katie's two year old twins see pictures of Aunt Munch, but have no clue, I sigh.

My hope comes from my faith. That sure knowledge that she is safe and smiling in that realm we somehow conject is heaven. She's there...I'm at peace with that.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Overnight 2009

We stretched...

Lake Michigan, the eerie reminder...

Me and Aimee, pre walk.

Ah, the Overnight...

The Overnight for AFSP American Foundation for Suicide Prevention was last night. I trained, I more than met my financial goal, (Thank you so much) and I think I did what I set out to accomplish: Continue the awarenenss that suicide and mental illness not being stigmitized. And that again, I remember what an awesome daughter, sister, friend Laurie was.

AFSP does an amazing work. Just seeing the two thousand or so folks at Soldier Field always hits so hard. The honor beads around each neck, signifying the loss or reason each walked. White for child loss, gold for parent loss, blue for the cause, etc. It was so God-coordinated when standing among all these people with Aimee, I noticed the woman in front of me, whose face I could not see, was wearing a white necklace. I knew the pain she had felt losing a child without having to see her. Then I noticed her back pack on the ground with a plastic sleeve attached with photos of several young people...there was Laurie's face among them.! "Hey, who is this in front of me?" I thought. turns out it was my sweet friend from Grief Support who had been in my Child Loss group two years ago. So good to meet up with her...

Though rains and thunderstorms were predicted, we walked bravely off after a beautiful Opening ceremony. The heat caused sweat to drip into my newly operated on cataract eye. (Not good follow up treatment.) It was when the rains actually started that I felt I had done what I hoped for and had no regrets when Pete and Joanne and Mike who were there to cheer us on part way through the Walk, drove soggy me back to my car. Not completing the entire Walk this year seemed to be the wise choice for me. I am ready to keep walking towards hope for a day when no one chooses suicide over life!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Happy 25th Birthday, Laurie! We miss you.

So she would have been 25 today...

Today sweet Laurie would have been 25 years old. It is so hard to imagine what our lives would be like if she were still with us. I know she would be flipping out because her sister, Kristin just got engaged. She would be so thrilled that Greg, Cheryl and Brooke were home for a visit from Malaysia. We would be making plans for Slumberfest 2009, the giant family sleepover, coming next week.

It is just hard to imagine. Those ripples caused be both her joy and compassion and her decision to take her life have impacted so many in so many ways. I just miss her...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I'm walking, I'm walking, I'm breathing...

Slumberfest 2007. Breakfast at the tree house.

Feasting...on love of family.

Slumberfest breakfast. Yum!

To breath again...

Saturday morning, I am still in my pj's and proud of it. Today, May 30th, 2009, would have been my mom's 80th birthday. It has been almost five years since she's been gone and I still miss her. I can imagine her smiling at all the "shenanigans" I find myself a part of...swinging on my back yard swing with Denver spinning me and little Kylie til we laugh and get dizzy. And then putting ice on Maya's tetter totter wound. (It is amazing to us that this is the first real wound on the seesaw of death.) I honestly do not remember my mom ever volunteering to take all my kids overnight ever. I know she was happy to see us when we came over, and she let the kids do pretty much whatever while there, but ask to keep them overnight, nope. Hmmm, I have veered far from that philosophy. Most weekends at least three to five grandkids are here along with Katie and it's a bit of a three ring circus. I like it that way!

And to breath again...The past six months, to the day, have been a time of mentally holding my breath. Thursday was a day covered in prayer by many, many friends and those prayers were answered in a great way! I literally feel a load off my brain. I am getting oxygen again! What a terrific feeling. The summer does not loom in a scary way anymore. We can make plans. Hooray for that.

So now I can eagerly anticipate the arrival of Greg and Cheryl and Brooke from Malaysia next week. I can look forward to the upcoming bridal showers and graduation party, Slumberfest 2009, the AFSP BBQ throwdown next Sunday, Day at the Races to benefit the Cradle, a cherished place for our family. I can plant my tomato plants and basil and cilantro and know I will be able to tend to each with a light heart. I will walk 20 miles in the AFSP Overnight on June 27th and think about Laurie and be grateful that there have been no more losses to suicide in this family. I am breathing. We all are breathing! Sweet.

PS I have been able to pass my goal of $1000 for the Overnight. My wonderful walking partner, Aimee, still needs to reach that goal or she will have to come up with the remainder herself. Please consider going to her page and making any size donation.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Proud mom and dad with the sweetest son, Greg.

Mother's Day 2009

Today I officially have been a mother for 40 years. Greg is forty today. I still remember the pregnancy, the labor, delivery of a beautiful little red haired baby boy. Because he was born just before Mother's Day that year, the nurse brought him to me wrapped in the little striped blanket (the one that you still see today.) with a red rose with a baby blue ribbon tied to it, laying across his swaddled little self. Instant love! The most incredible wash of emotion came over me. This is MY baby; I had a baby! I am a mom!

What a ride as a mom. Being a mom, I still think is the most wonderful job/blessing in the world. My journey is not at all what I thought it would be that May 9th, 1969. The twists and turns, the exreme joys, the extreme sorrows, have continued to shape me. I can not change the past but I can choose to go forward with God's patient guidance and embrace the future.

Please click on Greg's blog and read his wonderful timeline of his life thus far. It made me cry, tears of wonder. This is MY baby; I had a baby! I am a mom!

To my kids, forgive me for all the mistakes I have made. To the rest of my family, I thank you for your love. To Pete, thank you for sticking with me on this journey. 20 years, Wow! To God, thank you from my heart.

Happy Mother's Day. May you be as blessed as I have been.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Am I still out there?

The last commentor on the "Awwww" picture asked just that. It can be taken two ways: Am I OUT there? Like, yeah, I am way out there :) or Am I out there? like "Am I still blogging?" The irony is that as I was driving today I could feel a blog boiling up inside me. I hate that I had to really rein in what I was truly feeling and experiencing in my blog because "bullies" were creating conflict. Much of what I write now is light or a picture review (still valuable to friends and family, I hope) but the gut of me is curtailed.

Someday I will get back to real blogging but right now, there is still concern and worry. Suffice it to say, the last four months have been excruciating. I wonder why I have lost ten pounds with out really trying and I know. It's the famous "Grief Diet". The one you can't write a book about because the causes of grief are so awful: death, divorce, suicide, cruelty, and on and on. And all of ones I just listed have been going on in the lives of people near and dear to me. Death: the sister and two nieces of my sweet friend. Divorce: One of our closest guy friends is being dragged through this pit. Suicide and attempts: Too many. Cruelty: At least four different men who are batterers, violent tempered, alcoholic and threatening bullies to women I know.

The bullies are ones I have such disdain for. I hate bullies. Is that too strong a word? I think because I love, I must also be able to hate. It is so abhorent that someone thinks they can control another by their horrific words, their accusations, almost always false, and their violence. Two recent news stories in IL rang too close. One, the mother whose two young sons were killed by the deranged father who then killed himself, pleaded with the courts not to allow unsupervised visits. A judge denied her requests and now they are gone. The other, another deranged man, killed the sister of his girlfriend and her father and her grandmother. Their funerals are tomorrow. Is it drugs, mental illness, alcohol, a lousy upbringing? I don't know but the numbers just continue to grow. I can't believe the thoughts I have in thinking of ways to make these people go away.

All I know for now is that God sees and knows and hears the prayers of those who are threatened. He, in His time, will make all things right. I am reminded of Romans 8:28, Katie's verse.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purposes."

May it be so.

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