Sunday, June 13, 2010

Break Time!

The Power Company, the Mortgage Company and the rest offer their condolences, but bills don't stop for tragedies and even though it took 10 days (after Thomas died) before my daughter actually consumed a full meal in one sitting, children still need to eat. So this Mama did what she had to do. I went back to work 6 days after I buried my husband. With the exception of taking off work 6 times for various appointments I worked everyday I was scheduled until the Friday before Memorial Day, which I took off because Ariana was out of school.

Now, though, it's time for a break. We originally planned to vacation with a group this coming week. A group cruise was planned with our church and two others. We signed up when I was two months pregnant with Elijah. Thomas' untimely departure changed those plans. I was unable to keep our reservations. This week though is also the week Elijah's daycare will be closed for preparation for the new school year. I wouldn't be able to work even if I wanted to, which I don't.

After a lot of consideration, I decided I'd do something we hadn't previously done. I made a reservation at a Holiday Inn in Virginia Beach. Some might ask how much rest will she get going away alone with 2 small children. Time away from work is...well...time away from work. I'm looking forward to getting away from the daily hustle and bustle of our routine. Everyday until school was over it was out of bed at 5:30, dress, dress the children, drop Ariana off at school, Elijah at daycare, 40 minute commute, work, pick up the children, dinner, homework, baths, bed the children, then do whatever I have to do until I pass out. In the 2 weeks since school has been out, it's been out of bed at 5:30, dress, dress the children, drop Elijah at daycare, Ariana off at summer camp, Elijah at daycare, 40 minute commute, work, pick up Ariana, pick up Elijah, home, dinner, baths, family meetings, bed the children then do whatever I have to do until I pass out. I'm looking forward to the change of scenery and just "being" with my children. I'm looking forward to introducing Elijah to the pool, watching Ariana build sandcastles and dipping Elijah's plump little feet in the ocean for the first time. Then at night after they're asleep, I want to sit either on the balcony or on the couch just inside it and listen to the ocean. I think it's a major step in getting us to a good place. I don't think I've really had a chance to wrap my brain around our new life like I need to in order to make it happen.

So now it's been three months since Thomas' death. I'm actually a quarter way through the first year. Tired doesn't begin to describe it. I see why people take off for weeks after a spouses passes away. Holding down a career, raising children and grieving is a balancing act I don't wish on anyone, but it is what it is. My children have been my saving grace. They are amazing. They are (if I may say so) beautiful and a great source of love, laughter and just enough of a distraction so I don't sink into the black hole of overwhelming sadness that threatens me. But there it is everyday. I had the American flag that draped his casket laying in the dining room, but eventually put it in a glass case and put the case on the coffee table where some random decorations used to be. I've also replaced some deteriorating wall decorations with some recent portraits of our children.

Elijah is 5 months old and his newest accomplishment is rolling over from back to tummy. He's been able to roll over from tummy to back for 2 months, but then all that takes is raising up on his hands and then falling over. Rolling over the other way is a whole other trick. At first he only turned his head in the direction he wanted to go. Next he began to turn his waste and bring his legs over. The last obstacle as usual is that lower arm, the one that almost seems pinned to whatever surface the baby is resting in at the time. But eventually with enough wiggling, the arm pops loose and they end up on their stomch. Most of the time the baby is as surprised as everyone else in the room, even startled. When I was dropping Elijah off one morning one of his classmates was having a crying fit after he frightened himself rolling over. We haven't had that happen and Elijah now rolls over at will. Of course "at will" didn't include the day my mother came to visit and I said, "look, Elijah can roll over." He's also thinking about learning to hold his bottle on his own. I'm giving him some smaller ones. He does actually reach for it, which is more than he had done previously.

Ariana is 7 and I'm now the mother of a 2nd grader. I can still remember her finishing preschool like it was yesterday. It was a cute little ceremony complete with caps and gowns, diplomas, an after party at Chuck E Cheeses and even class rings. If anyone had told me that 2 years later, I'd not only have another child, but Thomas wouldn't be here, I might not have believed it. Thomas almost had me convinced he'd just keep on going. Truth is though he lived longer than a few people estimated. The doctor at the VA once gave me a prediction of how things would work out. Thomas outlived his prognosis by just under 3 years, during which he saw Ariana graduate preschool, saw his 1st son graduate high school and his 2nd son created and brought into the world. He accomplished a lot in his life and he said he enjoyed it. I have to believe he'd want me to try to enjoy mine even now.

So, I'm going to do the best I can. Some days are better than others. Some days I can go to work, come home, cook diner, have great conversations with Ariana, bathe both children, shower and by 8:00, I'm sitting on Ariana's bed reading to both children. Then there are other days where after eating take out, we all pass out on my bed in the clothes we wore that day. Getting us settled here is going to take time and patience, and the right combination of acknowledging what we've been through, but continuing to develop at a good rate. I'm determined we'll get there. Thomas never crawled into a corner and neither will I. I won't run from this challenge. I'm just going to take a break...and I'm taking my babies with me.


  1. Sonya,
    You are a hero to me. I'm so proud of you and how you are handling life. When we were young I had no idea what God would do with both of our lives. You are an awesome mom and example to all women of how to follow God no matter what. I love you girl!

  2. Yes! You are amazing and even as I struggle to cope with daily life and my husband's illness, I, too, find so much joy, laughter and meaning in my kids. Your kids are wonderful. Hang in there!